January 31, 2015

…is what Tiger Woods could well be saying in the above picture after his fourth consecutive miserable round of professional golf since his “formal” return back in December following last year’s back surgery.

82. I mean, how does the greatest golfer of his generation – a legend, mind you – go out and shoot an 82? Sure, Tiger can look into his glass and mutter in Roy McAvoy fashion that, well, he missed a 10-ft. putt on 18 for an 81 but that’s not going to cut it. I mean, this is Tiger Woods we’re talking about here. We’re not just talking about barely missing the cut at the Waste Management Open, but finishing next to dead-last at a whopping +13 in doing so – his worst round as a professional.

I was able to watch some of the Tiger lowlights on Golf Channel during their pre-second round coverage, and believe me, his play was even uglier than his score showed. Sure, his tee game was inconsistent and his iron play only so-so due to poor distance control, but that’s to be expected from someone retooling his swing for the fourth time in his professional career. What was truly astonishing and disturbing was his short game, which, to be kind, continues to look like something you’d see during a Goodboys Invitational weekend than a PGA Tour eventS . Duffed chips. Fat chips. Skulled chips. Bladed chips. It was embarrassing to watch. Tiger can talk all he wants about physical patterns and mental patterns, but I just don’t buy it. And I think what’s happening bodes very poorly for Tiger’s future if he doesn’t turn his short game around pronto – like Brandel Chamblee said during that show, I think Tiger’s got the yips.

Now I’m no Tiger Woods, but I think I can speak with authority about retooling one’s swing – I’ve been doing it off and on for the better part of three years. And only now (as you will read in an upcoming post) do I think I’ve finally got down the kind of swing I want to have. But during this time, never – and I do mean never – has my short game completely abandoned me. Oh, it has gotten a little loose at times – as it always will – but over that period I don’t recall ever having my short game abandon me as completely as Tiger’s appears to have.

Watching Tiger remove his hat and shake hands with his playing partners today I was struck at how old a 39 he looks. I know it was a tough grind for him but there was something else I saw – weariness, uncertainty, and yes – even fear. And I wonder if Tiger’s issues run deeper than just being between swing changes. I think his appearance next week at Torrey Pines has some very high stakes. His short-game cart has run off the path and he better find something – anything – that can take away positive as far as his short game is concerned, and quick.

Forget about Jack and the 18 majors – his future as a professional golfer depends on it.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:03 | Comments (0)
January 30, 2015

WARNING: The following post contains an incurably-cute bunny pic and video. If you are not immune to said cuteness please click your “Back” button immediately to return from whence you came!

Peach, our latest rabbit, has a funny way of sleeping. Even though our vet has assured us he’s not a wild cottontail rabbit, Peach (formerly known as “Mr. Honeybun” – don’t get me started!) sure exhibits certain qualities that make us think otherwise. When he’s sleeping, for example. Bunnies, being at the bottom of the food chain, don’t take long naps – no more than a few minutes long. But whereas all of our other rabbits have their eyes closed when they sleep, Peach kinda rolls his eyes over to a point what we affectionately call “road kill” – his eyes are open but there ain’t anyone home (if you know what I mean).

And it’s fascinating to watch: he throws himself over on his side, exposing a pure white underbelly, and he’s gone in less than five seconds. Legs, nose, and tail twitching away. A minute later, he’s up and eating timothy hay as if nothing ever happened. It truly is an amazing thing to see.

Obviously, Peach is a very cool and unique rabbit.

Though not as cool as this rabbit. Lots of folks think bunnies are stupid but they’re anything but. Actually, they are extremely head-strong in what they will or won’t do – that’s what being at the bottom of the evolutionary food chain will do to you. Rabbits also have a keen sense of sight and sound, and risk and reward. Case in point: there’s a rabbit up at The Bunny Basics in Scottsdale that knows my voice and goes nuts when she hears it because she associates it with getting fed Nibble Rings. Bianca splits her time between TBB and a foster family, to the point where she is sometimes gone for months. But no matter – if she’s back at TBB and hears my voice her ears go up and she’s totally stoked, running around in circles with excitement at the prospect Nibble Rings.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:51 | Comments (0)
January 29, 2015

The title of this post is not an editorial comment. Rather, it’s a question for the likes of (The Rev.) Al Sharpton and all the race-baiting liberals and jackass protestors who have exploited the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner to spout outrage and push their own political agendas. The fact is, if these folks and others were truly concerned about black lives mattering they’d be just as huffy and puffy about the fact that for every Brown and Garner there are 19 blacks lives snuffed out by abortion, according to data from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

And they would be equally as outraged at the deaths of black youths caused by black-on-black inner-city violence. Do their lives matter? As Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond writes, er, perhaps not so much:

Black Lives Matter has become the rallying cry of those protesting police brutality all over the country in the wake of the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.

Yet Some Black Lives Matter seems a more appropriate slogan.

How many people in Oakland — the site of some of the most passionate and sometimes violent police brutality protests in recent months — can name a single African-American who has been killed in a homicide in their own city? Maybe you know of Oscar Grant and Alan Blueford, who were both killed by law enforcement officers in cases that got a lot of media coverage.

But are you familiar with the name Lamar Broussard? Derryck Harris? Lee Weathersby III? Didn’t think so.

Their stories don’t fit into the historic racial narrative of systemic police violence against minorities in the U.S. They were in all likelihood murdered by someone from the Deep East Oakland community where they lived.

And it’s not just in Oakland, of course – it’s in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, and any other inner-city neighborhoods where you won’t find your average everyday elitist progressive activist (most typically white, BTW) sticking their privileged noses into – they know if they did it would be their lives that wouldn’t matter, and quickly. Much better, then, to focus their outrage in populated areas where they can make jackasses of themselves by inconveniencing the largest number of people possible – on highways and transportation systems or shopping malls – places where they can, you know, feel more comfortable. After all, if you gotta protest, best do it around your own kind.

The sad truth is, the number of black lives lost through abortion and black-on-black violence are the kind of numbers liberals and progressives seek to avoid at all cost because it doesn’t fit their narrative or their political agendas. Far better to sloganeer at the Sundance Film Festival where one can comfortably express outrage over the loss of black lives while you swill chardonnay with all your other lib pals who live their lives in affluent suburbs and trendy city neighborhoods, or in gated communities designed to keep the riff-raff out.

But that’s modern-day liberal activism for you. And it’s spelled h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (0)
January 28, 2015

Herman Melville, that ol’ 19th century “great white whale” author himself once said, or wrote, or perhaps sang in the bathtub (if he even had a bathtub, that is), “There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”

Umm….well, I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that there were two very contrasting landscapes being viewed by two different Goodboys yesterday afternoon. Fellow “Founding Father” (say that three times fast!) “Killer” Kowalski lives outside Boston. And here’s a pic he sent to me yesterday afternoon at the height of the Great New England Blizzard of 2015:

A song comes to mind:

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Hat tip: Shawn Colvin, In The Bleak Midwinter

Contrast that to what The Great White Shank was looking at on his back patio around the very same time:

Another song comes to mind:

No shoes, no shirt, no problems
Blues what blues hey I forgot them
The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems

Hat tip: Kenny Chesney, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems

Is one better than the other? I’ll let y’all be the judge. I know there are summer folks and winter folks out there. One doesn’t have dibs over the other (that is, of course, if you’re a summer guy living in New England or a winter guy living in the Valley of the Sun). But contrasts are what makes the world go round. Herman didn’t say that – I guess I did.

But looking at these two pics I think the old fella would agree with me.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:26 | Comments (6)
January 27, 2015

With a nod to departed but not forgotten Boston radio legend Bill Marlowe I offer only the following. Watch this and tell me where you think the direction of American music (not to mention its culture) has gone. You know what I love about the clip? How it exudes respect for the music and the way it is performed. I mean, look at Frank with the sheet music on the table! And you want diversity? Check out the diversity of the musicians and the verve by which they play behind Sinatra. It’s a wonderful clip – just an example of classic American popular music whose time, unfortunately may have come and gone but will still live forever.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:54 | Comments (0)
January 26, 2015

…for my pals back home and everyone in New York and New England with a monster of a snowstorm about to hit. If you follow Joe Bastardi’s weekly Saturday summary free at weatherbell.com, this wouldn’t have been a surprise – he was alluding to something like this happening two weeks ago. And if he’s right, New England may be seeing yet another storm by the end of the week. Not to mention the fact he’s predicting a historically-cold and snowy winter right into April.

I’ll take the Valley of the Sun, thank you. I’m getting to old for that kind of stuff.

Oh, we are supposed to get a spot of rain today.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:14 | Comments (0)
January 24, 2015

Hope y’all enjoyed “Palm Springs Week” here at Goodboys Nation blog. If you’re ice-bound or snowbound or about to be either, I hope this week’s posts brought you a sense of warmth and spirit. If you’d already thought The Great White Shank was nothing but a washed-up dinosaur, then perhaps this week kinda confirmed those sentiments. But you what? I don’t care. I think this country would do well to embrace a more laid-back, “ring-a-ding-ding” lifestyle where everything isn’t so “edgy” and bitter and divisive. I mean, what’s stopping everyone from gathering together, vegging out, and having a couple of cocktails to simply enjoy life for what it is? You only go around once in life, right?

One of the things I find most fascinating about the whole mid-century modern thing was how positive it all was. Whether it was architecture or furniture or a lifestyle, it was about simplicity and integrating one’s self with the environment you lived in. There was an innate sense that the world could be your oyster. And not taking everything so damned seriously like people do today. I mean, nowadays you can’t say or do or think anything without some idiot or group of idiots (and you know who I’m talking about here) getting all pi$$ed off and demanding an apology or explanation. Y’know what I mean?

I think everyone needs a Palm Springs to long for and dream of. It doesn’t have to be Palm Springs, per se – my concept is an earlier version of the Margaritaville that Jimmy Buffett conceived. But it’s all the same: a place where everyone knows your name. A place where you can feel comfortable amongst your peeps. A place that is carefree and welcoming. I’m not talking about a place where there are no stresses and strains, but it’s certainly a place where you can come home from a hard day at work, drop your coat and your hat and unwind with a few cocktails amongst friends on a patio with some cool music playing on the patio. And if you’re single and there’s an attractive chick around, why not make a pitcher of martinis and let nature take its course?

What’s so bad about that?

And the things is, to do the Palm Springs concept right you don’t really need a whole lotta anything, just some imagination. Start off with some cool music, make some cocktails, invite a few friends, and let your patio or pad create the kind of laid-back atmosphere where folks can feel comfortable and welcome.

We all have it in us. What’s wrong with letting it happen?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:13 | Comments (0)
January 23, 2015

What good is a fantasy about the swingin’ recreational life in Palm Springs if you haven’t got a soundtrack to back it? In a mid-century modern lifestyle the Chairman of the Board (isn’t that a great pic?) has to play a major role, dontcha think? So gather up your friends, make yourself comfortable with a martini, a mai tai, or a highball, and let FS set the mood:

10. My Kind of Town (1964) – Back in the late ’70s when Macs Two Lounge in North Billerica, MA used to be a regular bar/lounge, this song was on the jukebox next to the likes of Heart, Bob Seger, and Steve Miller, and my brother Mark and I would get a kick out of playing this song just to get the crowd wondering who on God’s green earth put that damned song on. It sounded good then, still does now.

9. Come Dance With Me (1959) – A swaggering Sinatra performance backed by a kick-ass Billy May arrangement. I think Billy always brought that extra bit of swagger out in Frank.

8. Fly Me To The Moon (1964) – Sinatra singin’. Accompanied by Count Basie. Arranged by Quincy Jones. With a trio like that how can you not get a swingin’ performance?

7. Nice and Easy (1960) – Is there a song that fits the carefree Palm Springs lifestyle better than this? A Nelson Riddle arrangement, very classy. If Billy May brought out Sinatra’s swagger and Gordon Jenkins Frank’s melancholy, Riddle brought out the classic Sinatra sound. All did the Chairman right in their own unique way.

6. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (1956) – Probably the best performance of Frank’s career, and in my humble view one of the top five pop music recordings of all time. A real kick-ass Nelson Riddle arrangement that he absolutely rolls with and kills. Listen for how Riddle uses the strings to build a tension that is only released by that cat blowin’ the trombone and tearing the house down. I put it at #6 on this list because I wouldn’t want my party to stop while everyone listens with their mouths open in amazement. You don’t want to break the mood, right?

5. Witchcraft (1957) – I mean, how does this song not make you think of swinging parties on the patio? This spell-binding, finger-snapping Sinatra performance conjures up three words: taste, class, and appreciation.

4. Summer Wind (1966) – Dig the organ and saxophone (tenor, alto, baritone) opening – it’s really inventive. Whenever I hear this song I’m camping with Jim Connell and a bunch of drunks up at the Saco River – I think they played this song a hundred times. But it’s still a classic sixties tune that just smacks of “nice and easy” Palm Springs afternoons.

3. Strangers In The Night (1966) – Lots of people don’t know it, but many of the musicians backing Frank on this tune come from the same bunch of “Wrecking Crew” musicians utilized by Phil Spector and so many other artists on more ’60s hits then you could ever imagine.

2. Come Fly With Me (1958) – I mean, how much more swingin’ can you get if you were a Pal Springs jet-setter back in the late fifties / early sixties? What a great Billy May arrangement! Whenever I hear this tune I think back to the shows the Masonic Lodge I belong to put on back in the 80s. It was my brother Dave who got me and my friend Paul during the words “beat the birds” to make an arm motion like we were, well, beating birds. To this day it just comes naturally to me.

1. That’s Life (1966) – That rockin’ organ intro is the perfect backdrop for this ultimate swingin’ sixties tune perfect for the highball generation. This ballsy Ernie Freeman arrangement brings Frank as close to letting loose as he’d ever get.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:44 | Comments (6)
January 22, 2015

Cool. Modern. Iconic.

Now this is something I plan on attending next year. With my golf clubs in the trunk, of course. No dinero this year, but it has been on my bucket list for awhile. Home tours, seminars, parties and socializing with folks with like-minded interests, how can you beat it?

The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs.

Modernism Week’s signature February Event is an annual celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture. This exciting “festival” takes place in February in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. It features more than 100 events including the Modernism Show, home tours, films, lectures, double decker bus tours, parties, walking and bike tours, a pre-fab showcase, vintage fashion, live music events, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more.

Tracey, of course, wouldn’t be interested – she hates mid-century modern architecture and the whole concept in general – heck, I don’t blame her, she’s not from that time – but she’d go for the music and the food and drink. It’s the one reason she refuses to take a six-month extended leave from work to see the country: she’s afraid that when she got back she’d find the house completely remodeled in mid-century modern style.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comments (2)
January 21, 2015

As you can tell by the picture it wasn’t taken in Palm Springs, but that doesn’t mean all the essentials for a late Palm Springs afternoon in mid-January aren’t all in place: Hemingway daiquiri (mine is a variation on the Papa Doble version in a classic glass, shaker with a little extra ready for refill once the first two icy sips are taken, “Boat Drinks” table from the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Online Store (a collectors item since they’ve stopped selling it!), swimming pool with obligatory fountain, palm trees, and happy pleasing colors all around. In January I especially appreciate the green – hey, I know where I come from and how lucky I am to be here this time of year!

And the spring part is real, as, even though there’s nary a smidge of it appearing back in New England, there are signs of Arizona spring everywhere. The mourning doves have started reappearing, filling the late afternoons with their coos and mating calls, my Feathery Acacia (the first plant on our property that blooms) has buds that look, oh, a week away from bursting into bright yellow flowers, and word from the weather folks is that we’ll hit 80 for the first time this year on Thursday.

Walking down to the corner to the mailbox in the lengthening afternoons you can really feel the difference between, say, a month ago. The air feels different and it smells more fragrant. When I was hitting balls last Sunday it was the first time since November that I felt like I should have put some SPF 40 on – the sun had that little bit of extra bite that I hadn’t felt even a week earlier.

Pretty soon I’m gonna have to get crackin’ on the chores needed to get the place ready for another brutal summer. The parts of the patio painted in coral need a new coat of paint, I need to schedule the pool being drained and acid washed, and I have to assess whether I can get through just one more year without having to order some new Tahitian thatch for the Tiki bar roof.

But that’s all for another time – this afternoon it’s all about the palms and the spring.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 03:28 | Comment (1)

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