February 16, 2015

To be truthful I was going to do a post on the state of my golf swing but that can wait for another time, right?

[Ed. note: millions of Goodboys Nation blog readers heave a sigh of relief.]

Given the fact that it’s Presidents Day, I thought I’d offer up a few thoughts about the presidents of our nation. I’m no presidential historian, but I do read a lot of history and have definitive thoughts about most of the men elected to lead our country over the past 225 years. I put them Gold, Silber, Bronze, and Crap. If your favorite isn’t amongst any of those categories, they didn’t do anything worthy of note to even get into a category to begin with.

Gold: Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan. Washington and Lincoln are obvious choices (I wish we could go back to celebrating their birthdays because they were truly great men. Not every President deserves to have automobile sales galore, and for federal, state, and local officials an extra day off in the middle of February.) Theodore Roosevelt was, of course, larger than life, did some incredible things when it came to the Panama Canal, busting the trusts, and awakening the conservation movement in the country. Was he flawed? Hell, yes – but then again so are all great men who are larger than life. One might be surprised that a conservative like yours truly would pick FDR, but he was quick to assess the desperate nature of the situation he inherited and implemented things that gave people hope. Amity Shlaes has written that it was only World War II that saved his New Deal, but when people are out of work and starving you have to be sensitive to the needs of those in need. Reagan, of course, was the tonic that restored a sense of the grandeur and purpose America had lost after Vietnam and Watergate. God, how we need another Reagan who can restore sanity to the catastrophe that is Washington and the elected and non-elected elitist fools that have tossed common sense out the door!

Silver: Jefferson, James K. Polk, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman. Jefferson was one of the earliest reformers, seeing the danger of a government out of control. Polk is one of – if not the – underrated Presidents, an astute observer of politics and the mindset of his country while he was in office. Woodrow Wilson was a Progressive who mobilized us into World War I then dared to dream of a world given a forum to resolve conflicts. Calvin Coolidge gave a broken-hearted nation a low-keyed, strong leader. Harry Truman did what he had to do on very short notice to end World War II. Unlike those in the Gold category, each of these Presidents might not have been good enough to make the first team, but they were solid in performance and most certainly better than average.

Bronze: John Adams, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. I give Adams credit for stepping in behind a living legend like Washington. It was important that the country understand that George wasn’t the end all and be all of everything. Jackson was a tough, no-nonsense, larger than life Chief Executive. Grant was a lousy judge of character but a better president than most give him credit for. William McKinley was the first President to see the United States as an emerging world power. Taft actually advanced Teddy Roosevelt’s reforms forward more his predecessor game him credit for; his decent presidency was sabotaged by TR’s oversized ego. Eisenhower provided the necessary stability to end the war in Korea and keep the U.S. out of bigger wars in Laos and Vietnam. Nixon had nothing on him compared to what Barack Obama has done; he had the vision to open the doors to China, worked hard to end the Vietnam War, and he started the EPA. Gerald Ford was a good man whose sense of what was right kept the nation out of a prolonged Watergate witch hunt. Bill Clinton was a savvy politician with incredible human faults who could still work his immense political skills to foster a centrist Democratic Party that could work for the “average folk”. George W. Bush showed the Middle East what America stood for in terms of freedom but let his own personal feelings enter us into a needless war in Iraq.

Crap: John Tyler, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Chester Alan Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. All I can say is, you gotta be pretty crummy to make this bottom list. Tyler, Pierce, and Buchanan were incompetents who stood idly by as the nation drifted into civil war. Chester Alan Arthur was a hack who made his presidency a virtual hack-o-rama. Benjamin Harrison merely occupied the seat – he only became President because of his Civil War credentials. Harding was a tragic character in every way, and Hoover a cold and distant bureaucrat, but neither have anything on the worst President of them all, Lyndon Johnson, who knew damned well that Vietnam was going to be a fiasco yet escalated our involvement in it anyways. The damage done to this country by his idea of a “Great Society” will never be fixed. Jimmy Carter did get his Sinai accord but was abysmal when it came to domestic policy. And then you have Barack Obama, who will go down in history as one of the greatest incompetents ever to hold the office. History doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and Obama is the king of fools. What’s truly sad about him is the opportunity he was given and utterly wasted. But hey, you gotta play golf, right?

If your favorite President didn’t make the list I’m truly sorry for you – you rode one forgettable horse in this race.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:47 | Comments (0)
February 14, 2015

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, so this guy is going to spending some quality time with his sweetheart. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple-two-three things worthy of posting about:

When we start feeling sorry for robot dogs, most certainly the end is near.

You read stuff like this and wonder if there is anything the Obama administration has touched that hasn’t ended up as a disaster?

Of course, when the President lowers himself to look like the ass he is one shouldn’t be surprised. I wonder what the rest of the world’s leaders truly think about this clown. He’s an embarrassment to the country and to the office he holds. And you know what? He could care less.

The headline says it all about the state of this country: Teacher With Fear of Children Loses Discrimination Lawsuit Appeal.

I got a bad feeling about this. I’m so glad we have a hands-on President in charge.

I think this is a big story with ominous tones for the future of the world economy.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the ladies out there.

Less than two week until Las Vegas. Can’t wait.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 16:13 | Comments (0)
February 13, 2015

…with a nod to The Beach Boys for the post title, I doubt there will be a whole lot of making out in this particular parking lot back in Massachusetts where fellow Goodboy “Killer” Kowalski snapped this photo:

It’s quite the fantastic pic, showing just how much snow Massachusetts has gotten this winter. And with another foot of snow expected from a blizzard coming on Saturday and the potential of another the middle of next week, that piece of heavy equipment is going to have its work cut out for it!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:52 | Comment (1)
February 12, 2015

It’s warm and dry here in the Valley of the Sun but things are pretty crazy back home in Massachusetts with all the snow there is and with more yet to come. February is a winter month for sure, but it’s also the month that Spring starts showing up around these parts in the Feathery Acacia bushes that have bloomed into their loveluy and unusual burnt yellow color:

Ralph Waldo Emerson conjures up a romantic sense of friends gathered around a roaring fire as the snow piles up outside and the bitter wind seeks every crack and crevasse to chill you to the bone:

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the withered air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, and housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.”

Hat tip: egreenway.com

The reality is you just hunker down with a cocktail or two and devour Cheetos until your head explodes. Or snowbird to Florida and leave the misery and digging out to others, right?

I’ll take 80 degrees and a sun-drenched driving range any day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:28 | Comments (0)
February 10, 2015

It’s been the craziest winter ever back home in Massachusetts. Of course, if you followed Weatherbell meteorologist Joe Bastardi’s Saturday summaries as faithfully as I do none of this would have been a surprise. He’s been predicting a historic winter for the Northeast ever since September. Of course, now that the Boston area has been inundated with copious amounts of snow – so much so that they barely know what to do with it – it is what it is. The good news is that Bastardi is predicting a mid-to-late March weather pattern shift that will bring warmer temps to the Northeast (hello flooding!) and wet weather here in the desert Southwest. Everyone here in the Valley of the Sun is hoping for that, of course.

My brother Dave sent me this today – I think it’s the perfect sentiment for my Goodboys mates stuck in “Ice Station Zebra”:

Sorry guys. But Vegas comes in less than three weeks!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:11 | Comments (2)
February 8, 2015

The question is everywhere in the golf world right now: what to make of Tiger Woods following his withdrawal from the Farmer’s Insurance Open citing lower back issues resulting from his non-firing or non-activating glutes? But before I offer up my own ideas on this, let take a look at what folks had been saying in the weeks leading up to the Phoenix Waste Management Open – a tournament that shocked folks at the sight of Tiger struggling so mightily with his game, most especially his short game:

Remember this? Tiger was going to be dusting off his old swing in preparation for his triumphant return. Throughout the holiday season and the weeks leading up to his appearance at the Phoenix Waste Management Open, golf websites were crackling with rumors of the “old Tiger” returning: his increased swing speed, his incredible new ball control, how he “looks like the old Tiger”, to the point where Golf Channel’s David Feherty predicted that by the end of 2015 Tiger would be #1 in the world again.

What a difference two weeks makes. Now, he’s swinging too hard, says former coach Butch Harmon. He’s missing that same old drive to excel, says former coach Hank Haney. He’s got multiple issues to deal with, says his pal Notah Begay.

Kyle Porter has a great read on this, pointing out just how far Woods’s fortunes have fallen just in the past year. It’s actually breathtaking when you think of it:

2014 Farmers Insurance Open: Missed 3rd-round cut
2014 Honda Classic: WD
2014 Cadillac Championship: T25
2014 Quicken Loans National: MC
2014 British Open: 69th
2014 Bridgestone Invitational: WD
2014 PGA Championship: MC
2015 Phoenix Open: MC
2015 Farmers Insurance Open: WD

Enter into the fact it has been – incredibly – 7 1/2 years since Woods won his last major during an iconic performance at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, it actually begs the question why networks like Golf Channel and others continue to cover his every exploit at the expense of so many other professional golfers.

I have Hank Haney’s “The Big Miss” and it is fascinating to read it again seeing what Tiger is going through. Tiger hated Hank telling him to stop dipping his head because as soon as he did that he’d get that weird spine angle in the downswing. And now that Hank is gone what is Tiger resorting to? An accentuated head dip and spine curve in the downswing that not only puts incredible pressure on his lower back, but the big miss out to the right. People can say what they want about Haney – he seems like a huckleberry to me – and Johnny Miller hated Tiger’s Hank swing from the start (which is OK, Johnny hates everything ?) but if Tiger had stayed with Hank he’s probably have 16 or 17 majors by now.

The biggest problem Tiger has is his arrogance: he’s 39 years old but refuses to accept the fact he’ll never out-drive all the new guys. He needs to radically – and I mean RADICALLY – change his swing and I don’t think he’s up to doing it. Were I him, I’d announce a sabbatical where he can take his time and on his own schedule get his game back to PGA Tour standards and tell the media and Gold Channel to go screw and allow him the timeand the privacy to get his game back in gear. If he doesn’t do that he’s living in denial.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comments (0)
February 5, 2015

What do you do if you’re Tiger Woods who has to withdraw from his latest PGA Tour stop because his glutes won’t activate?

What do you do if you’re back in Massachusetts like my Goodboys friends and you’re looking at a forecast for the next nine days that says: bitterly cold, snow, snow, snow, chance of snow, bitterly cold, snow, very cold, and bitterly cold?

Why, you sit back, relax, and find yourself some beach.

Enjoy it, fellas – you deserve it!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:57 | Comments (4)
February 4, 2015

We had those couple of days back in late December (or was it early January) where the nights got below freezing, and as usual the bougainvillea took the worst of beatings. I took this picture last week and find it somewhat appealing to my Anglo-Catholic senses – there’s a sense of loss, a sense of sadness at seeing the once full, vibrant branches all green and awash with red flowers now dead and gray that seems almost comforting. Fact is, we’re not mean to spend all our days in “full bloom” – our bodies age, our emotions swing between the ecstacy and agony in the passage of time and our own imperfect natures, and our situations are never quite as assured and comfortable as they seem. The Anglophile in me (or is it my New England or Newfie heritage, or both) tells me that, no matter how good things might seem at the present they are never quite as comfortable and assured as they seem. Disaster is always around the corner.

And that’s OK – that’s life.

In a few weeks Carmelo will come by and give the bougainvillea a good shave; it’s good for their overall health. And come late March early April they will start coming back. As the bushes grow long and thick once again it won’t be long before Carmelo personally oversees the creation of the archway created by the natural outgrowth of both bushes towards each other that creates a peaceful and almost grotto-like appearance. Everyone on the street knows there’s an open invitation to sit on the bench and enjoy the prayer grove for prayer, meditation, or simply enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I know a couple of folks have used it from time to time, which is really cool.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:01 | Comments (0)
February 3, 2015

Even though I’m not a football fan it’s hard to not to still be incredibly excited at the way the Patriots pulled out that Super Bowl victory. At the gym tonight that’s all you heard in conversation. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been getting grilled over the coals all day for that second-and-1 pass call that resulted in the interception, but the debate is still raging on.

One thought: can you imagine what the scene must have been like at the Wynn Las Vegas sports book with all that gambling and dough-re-mi on the line? It must have been beyond incredible.

Here’s a question for Goodboys Nation followers from someone who ought to know these things but doesn’t: you look at the replay and you can see how Malcolm Butler kind of jams Seattle’s receiver at the same time the ball gets to him, preventing him from catching the ball. Why wouldn’t that be called pass interference?

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:10 | Comments (9)
February 2, 2015

Malcolm Butler, meet Dave Roberts.

Oh don’t worry, Malcolm – no matter what you do the rest of your life or wherever your career takes you, your place in Boston sports history is secured. Just like it was when Dave Roberts stole second base in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, Boston sports fans will remember forever where they were when you snagged that Russell Wilson pass at the goal line.

It’s all about the moment and how you handle it when it arrives.

I actually watched the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and it was very exciting stuff. I still can’t believe that stupid call the Seahawks made at the goal line. I mean, don’t you just have to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch three more times? You gotta figure he’s gonna punch it in one of those times.

If you’re a Seahawks fan this one is gonna sting – at least until they find away to get back to the Super Bowl and win it. Which will probably be next year.

With the latest news leaking out that the whole “Deflategate” scandal will turn out to be much ado about nothing you can bet the New England Patriots are gonna enjoy the next few days – if, that is, they can even get back to Boston.

It was exciting football, and a Super Bowl most folks who watched won’t forget about soon. No matter what you think about the Super Bowl being ridiculously over-hyped, in the end it turned out to be a great football game.

Congratulations to the New England Patriots!

Pitchers and catchers report in 18 days.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:56 | Comments (0)

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