February 26, 2017

About The Oscars and its bizarre ending: these are the same people who prattle on about Donald Trump’s presidency, and they can’t even get something as simple as announcing the correct Best Picture right. And just like the phonies they are, as soon as the show goes off script they’re all running around with blank faces and like chickens with their heads cut off.

Maybe they should figure out how to run a damned awards ceremony correctly before they start lecturing Donald Trump about politics.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:58 | Comments (0)
February 22, 2017

Yesterday I got a chance to hit balls for the first time in nearly four months. Chamber of Commerce weather: the sun shining bright, 74 degrees, and the driving range at Kokopelli Golf Club packed with men and women of all ages. Still feeling a little woozy from the flu, but I just had to get out and give the new clubs a look-see. The verdict? I have to say that, between using a different eye and trying out the new hybrids and woods, everything went OK. The adjustment to using my dominant (lead) eye was fairly seamless as soon as I got used to playing the ball just a tad further back than what I was used to. A few balls were topped, but I chalk it up to just getting a little more familiar with the hand/eye coordination.

The new clubs are fine: the Big Berta hybrids have a little more substantial feeling than the old RAZR/X ones I had, which always seemed so light that they were like twigs in my hand. The Big Berthas have a little more weight and a bigger club head; I found them easier to take an easy swing with. The XR 16 fairway woods and driver I wasn’t able to try out with more than a ball or two – after about thirty balls I was already sweating my brains out and feeling fatigued from being sick – but they all seemed just fine. At my level of competency all you’re looking for are clubs that feel good in your hands to swing, anyways.

I left a dozen balls or more behind and was really interested in seeing what it would be like to putt and chip with a different eye. I’m pleased to say I really didn’t notice much of a difference. Again, I think I have to play the ball just a smidgen back in my chipping and putting stance to accommodate what my lead eye sees as opposed to what my trailing eye did. But it all went OK.

Over all, I’m very pleased at my so-called “coming out party”. In particular, I was very pleased at my overall swing and tempo. As I mentioned in my other post, while I hadn’t actually been hitting balls these past four months, I’d been thinking about golf in more abstract ways, and one of those ways involved my whole approach to swinging a golf club. For some reason, I kept going back to that Hunter Mahan article in the February 2015 issue of GOLF Magazine and his seven keys to hitting irons – in particular, his comment about practicing how you want to finish. His point being, if you can finish on your front foot, hands high, chest facing the target, and completely balanced it really doesn’t matter how you get there: you’ve pretty much guaranteed yourself a successful shot. And that’s what I tried to do yesterday: in fact, I found using my lead eye made it easier for me to stay on top of the ball and therefore promote a better finish. And it showed in the number of quality results. So I was very pleased about that.

And so, the first test was passed. I was hitting off of mats because of all the recent rain, so this weekend I hope to head out to my old haunt of Superstition Springs and hit off of grass and do a little more putting and chipping to see how it all still feels. Then next week, if the weather holds, I’ll be playing Stallion Mountain and Las Vegas National in Sin City. No expectations, just seeing if I can move a golf ball around a course.

I know one thing: the days of hitting large buckets every week (or more) are over. From now on, whenever I go out I’ll just hit a small bucket, and even at that perhaps only a dozen balls or so, solely to work on rhythm and timing. I just think you fall into bad habits trying to do more than that. If I can hit a small bucket and play a round of golf every three weeks or so I think I’ll have achieved the right balance I’m seeking. And I’ve got a great new Hawaiian shirt to show off in Las Vegas and when Goodboys weekend comes around!

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 19:53 | Comments (0)
February 20, 2017

…a nod not as much to John Lennon’s song, but more so to the fact that he and George Harrison, as Phil Spector music fans, seemed to enjoy putting words in parenthesis as part of a song’s title – something Phil did quite a bit.

A lot has happened since the last time I picked up a golf club, which was late October of last year. There was, of course, the election of Donald Trump. The holidays (mercifully) came and went as a much ado about nothing. You had the much-ballyhooed comeback of Tiger Woods that lasted only three rounds; now it’s an open question whether we ever see him pick up a club in competition again. On the personal front, we finally completed the work on our living trust, all the work involving my sister-in-law’s divorce is complete (just waiting for the formal judgment to be released), we refinanced our house, and for the first time ever not only have our financial affairs completely in order, but, working with the folks at Edelman Financial, a strategy to keep our retirement plans on track. Taxes are ahead of schedule for the first time in years, and work is finally starting to quiet down from the frenzied pace of the last few months.

All of this taking place since the last time I touched a golf club.

And not that there isn’t still more to do – heck, there’s always more stuff in the queue: taxes to complete, living trust documents to update, and stuff involving the house that has patiently been waiting its turn while all this other “must be done” activity is put in the rear-view mirror. But the brightly-colored and highly-organized file folders that sit on our dining room table once numbering eight has been reduced to four, and even that is about ready to drop to only two as soon as I get around to filing them.

In short, it’s time to start thinking about golf again.

Typically, the end of February is when Exec-Comm (those chaps at the top right) starts thinking about what they want to do about Goodboys Invitational weekend (third weekend of July). I know a few of the boys are already have travel plans in place for spring golf in some very nice places, and I’m actually planning on a few days in Vegas next week without the laptop as a gift for the nose-to-grindstone work I’ve driven these past five months. Tracey would like to go to San Diego in May, and if we do there will have to be a return trip to The Crossings, the nicest course I’ve ever played. So now sounds like a good time to start thinking about picking up the clubs again.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about golf during this time away, mostly in an abstract way. I know at one time I had actually planned on committing myself to lopping a whopping six strokes off my MyScorecard.com 24-handicap (actually 23.9 right now), or at the very least get it down below 20, but looking back I think that was more about giving myself something to focus on in the wake of my Mom’s passing three months earlier. My good Goodboys pal “The Funny Guy” has always stated that hackers like us are what we are, and no amount of effort short of completely giving everything else up and playing and working on golf 24/7 with a bona fide instructor is going to change that. Could a goal of, say, lopping one stroke off my handicap this year be more reasonable and lead to enjoying the game much more? I think that’s where my head is more or less at right now – anything beyond that just seems too difficult and too time-consuming to pursue.

There are other challenges I’m going to be facing as I pick the game back up. For one thing, as I mentioned in an earlier post, someone stole my Callaway RAZR/X woods and hybrids from my garage the other day. I still can’t believe they’re gone. Not that they were valuable in any way (they were five years old and used at that), but more than anything else they were my golf companions even if I never truly figured out how to hit any of them with any consistency (especially the hybrids!). In the mail are Callaway Big Bertha hybrids (3 and 4), a Callaway XR 16 driver, and XR 16 3- and 5-woods. All pre-owned, of course – no need for spending big dough-re-mi on clubs that won’t make a huge difference in my scores one way or the other.

The biggest change – and challenge – I’m going to face is having to use my right eye as my dominant eye instead of my left as I’ve done ever since picking up the game. My eye doc says I’m at the age where they can only put so much prescription in my left eye to accommodate distance (since my LASIK surgery in 1999 I’ve had monovision, meaning that without glasses I use my left eye for reading and up close and my right eye for distance). But I’ve always been more comfortable using my (as a lefty) trailing left eye as my main eye for golf. I could really feel the change in my prescription last year and was having such a hard time seeing the ball clearly with my left eye that I know my friends got tired of me asking, “did you see where that one went?”. It was really impacting my game, and I was hoping new glasses would help get my left eye distance vision back to where it needed to be. It now seems like that’s no longer going to be the case. So, starting this year I’ll be attempting to use my dominant (lead) eye for golf. Will it matter? I’ve consulted all sorts of golf sites and there seems no right or wrong answer. Frankly, I’m a little nervous about how it’s all going to work out, but maybe it won’t be so bad or as much as an adjustment as I think. We’ll see.

And finally, recognizing that I’m a hacker and will always be so means I’m going back to what I liked best about playing golf – wearing my Hawaiian shirts and hitting those orange Wilson 50s. I’ve got four dozen in the garage ready to go, and I won’t be afraid of losing them nearly so much as I would those really nice Callaway Supersofts I’d been using the last couple of years. The way I look at it, it just gives me less to worry about out there: have I marked my ball or marked it correctly? Did I just hit someone else’s ball by mistake? I’ve played literally hundreds of rounds and have yet to come across someone else playing another orange ball, let alone a Wilson 50. I figure I’m going to have enough to worry about just keeping my own shit together out there without having to worry about how to look and act like a golfer. So keeping it simple and familiar and focusing on the basics (see the ball, hit the ball, keep moving) seems like the way to go.

The Great White Shank is back.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 01:11 | Comments (3)
February 19, 2017

It’s a gray and wet weekend here in the Valley of the Sun, courtesy of what looks to be last of a series of rainstorms that has come in from the Pacific during this incredibly strange winter. A few thoughts to sort of clear off the figurative desk while anticipating the start of Red Sox spring training:

The long, sad decline of Tiger Woods continues. This is exactly, if y’all recall, what I predicted would happen. Tiger’s really got only two choices here: decide that he really wants to play competitive golf again and take a year or two off to learn another completely and radically new swing that won’t put any pressure on his back at all, or give it up for good.

Watched parts of the Westminster Dog Show while waiting for our take-out order from the pizza joint down the street. A few thoughts, in no random order:

1) Maybe it’s just me caving in to all the identity politics being shoved down our throats by the mainstream media and the liberal left (I know, redundant) these days, but is there another event that oozes the kind of elitism and privilege than the WDS? And there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of diversity in the crowd, either (at least that I saw). I’m just sayin’…

2) The French Poodle looked like an idiot. Frank Zappa’s “Evelyn” came to mind.

3) I liked the Boxer – it had kind eyes and a disposition that seemed to want to lick you to death, with an ass almost as tight as his handler in that outrageous blue tuxedo :-)

4) I’m not an Irish Setter fan – too much hanging fur flying all over the place for my taste. They say an Irish Setter has never won the WDS, so here’s my suggestion: give the damned dog a haircut and see if that helps at all.

5) The Norwich Terrier didn’t stand a chance, at least in my mind. Nothing about it stood out other than to say, “Yo, I’m a terrier of some sort.”

6) Not sure what that damned dog was that had no face or legs, just a friggin’ mass of fur (was it a Trickie Woo dog from “All Creatures Great and Small”)? Me, were I a judge there’d have to be one underlying requirement: proof that there’s some kind of dog – any kind of dog – underneath all that fur.

7) Advancing my thoughts on item #1, it’s a virtual lock that the majority of that crowd voted for Hillary in the general election and are probably aligned with those who think Trump is some kind of Hitler. If so, than perhaps it was a subtle form of projection that the dog that ended up winning the whole shebang was the one most associated with – you guessed it! – Mein Fuhrer.

8) Finally, I know only this: Rumor the German Shepherd seemed like a very nice and well-behaved dog, but I can promise you that had I had tossed one of my rabbits in front of him at any point during the proceedings all sense of decorum would have gone out the window and there’d be people, animals, flowers, and bloody tuxedo parts flying all over the place. Because, in the end, no matter how anyone tries to dress them up, they’re still dogs.

Reason # 1,340 to hate The Wizard of Oz: the munchkins sexually harrassed Judy Garland during the filming. Seriously. Click the link.

I know at Over The Monster they think the Yankees are still a year away from challenging in the AL East, but I’m not so sure. And I’m not so bullish on Tampa Bay as they seem to be. The one thing I think everyone is in agreement with is that, if you’re an Orioles fan you’re in for a very long year.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:23 | Comments (0)
February 18, 2017

Glad to be almost back after a week of being sick – this one started coming on last Sunday and attacked with a vengeance the entire week. It’s only today that my first inclination after getting up was not to go back to bed. So hopefully we are getting there.

Actually, it was last Sunday afternoon that I could first feel like I had the chills and was sore all over. I attributed the latter to my previous day’s workout. As the day went on I could feel my head starting to get a little foggy – how else to explain that I left the garage light on and the garage door open all night long? Or that I then later misjudged stepping over Marlie the rabbit’s fence and came down on it with a crash, pulling muscles in my stomach and (I think) slightly bruising a rib on my lower right side. But it wasn’t until Wednesday when I noticed pulling into the garage that something looked strange with my golf bag: all my hybrids and woods were gone. Like, I mean gone. As in, someone had taken them gone.

At first I chalked it up to Tracey perhaps taking them with the idea of – for whatever reason – wanting to give me new head covers as a Valentine’s Day gift. I know I hadn’t left them anywhere – heck, I hadn’t even taken a swing with a club since my return from Massachusetts in late October. It’s still a mystery to me why anyone would want just a bunch of woods, and left-handed for that matter. And why just a few clubs? Why not take the whole bag? I mean, they left my Ping Scottsdale putter – more valuable than any hybrid or fairway wood, for sure, and my 60-degree wedge. And they didn’t rifle through the bag and take my Bushnell rangefinder – another valuable item, for sure. And nothing else in the garage seems to have disappeared. It just seems so odd. All I can hope is they find an owner who needs them more than me: that, frankly, wouldn’t take a lot.

It just means my return to golfing will feel even more like starting over. More on that in another post.

Anyways, just letting y’all know I’m back – a little loose-legged and still a still a little bleary. But back.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:15 | Comments (0)
February 9, 2017

We’re heading towards the high ’80s today in the Valley of the Sun. I’m a week away from starting to hit balls again, so in the meantime a few items of interest.

…and I’m supposed to care, Part I. The last decent release Springsteen had was Nebraska. Ever since then he’s become increasingly more than a parody of himself than anything else, an increasingly-insufferable bore, and a total hypocrite. Springsteen is the very definition of a limousine liberal.

…and I’m supposed to care, Part II. Yahoo!’s home page can keep running every single anti-Trump article they want, it’s not going to make a dent unless we’re here a year from now and most of Trump’s campaign promises remain unfilled. But I wouldn’t count on that.

It’s hard to imagine Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren being any more obnoxious and partisan than she has been to date, but she seems to have shifted into overdrive lately. If she’s really thinking of running for president in 2020, all I can say is good luck to that.

This speaks volumes about how the Patriots won the Super Bowl. I had only watched a few minutes of the first half when I thought that, while the Falcons were out-hustling the Patriots in every facet of the game, there was no way they were going to be able to keep it up. I guess now we know why.

…and on the subject of football: something tells me if Michael Sam could play football as well as he plays the homosexual card he’s still be on a roster somewhere. But of course, it can’t be a lack of talent, oh no…

Americans are about to find out what it’s really like to have a bona fide Attorney General heading the Department of Justice, and not some political hack who exists to push a radical leftist, racist agenda like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch did for Barack Obama. ‘Splody heads beginning in 4…3…2…1….

Hopefully someone can tell me if I should be concerned about this or not. I mean, didn’t the Soviet Union and the U.S. conduct hundreds of nuclear tests both in the atmosphere, underground, and under the sea in the late ’40s and ’50s? And we’re all still around, right?

The only reason Golf Channel’s Notah Begay even has a job there is because of his close association with you-know-who and his willingness to spout the party line when it comes to you-know-who’s health and plans. He’s pretty much an embarrassment.

This sounds like a good thing to me. Chandler is the next town over from us so the promise of more jobs will only help our property values!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:08 | Comments (2)
February 8, 2017

….and such is life. The Patriots celebrated their Super Bowl championship with a glorious parade, and the Red Sox truck is about ready to head to Fort Myers.

And round and round life goes, one season ended and another just beginning. One season fulfilling all the promises that started during the heat of July, the other filled with the expectations of, if not great things, then at least doing well. I guess we’ll see come October. Heck, by that time the Patriots will be well underway in defending their title.

I love this pic from Parade Day. So Bawwwwwstin!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments (0)
February 7, 2017

Winners beget winning. And the folks who seek to politicize everything are once again left to contemplate their losing.

Gee whiz. If the moon-bat left is going to melt down over something as ridiculous as a football game, they’re in for a loooooong four years. As the great Howie Carr is wont to say, their agony is my joy.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments (0)
February 6, 2017

…a few notes and observations as another frenetic work week begins.

The headline says it all. Well that was quite a game, but I’m glad I didn’t watch it – I would have had a heart attack. I knew something bad was going down in the first half because there were Super Bowl parties going on all around us and the air was filled with shouts of glee. Not so much in the second half. Now I know why…

But a huge congrats to the Pats – it’s great to live in an area where they are so hated and to see them turn in such a momentous achievement. And it was great to see NFL commish Roger Goodell booed so loudly by the fans. You could just tell by the way he congratulated Brady that he’s a total asshole.

Beware the killer rabbit!

Perhaps miracles do happen. You just have to believe, I guess.

Some great images from the golden era of air travel. Posted because I know my Auntie Marge would love it.

Just one more example why Chelsea Clinton is out of her league pretending to be a “playa” like her mom and dad.

Another reason why Phil Mickelson is my favorite golfer.

And yet another, all in the same round! The guy is positively fearless.

…but let no one kid you, for every Phil Mickelson there is also the other side of the coin. Golf can be a cruel mistress.

Hard to believe Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was released 40 years ago this week. I never bought into the hype of it being a great album, although it’s still one of the biggest sellers of all-time. In my view its follow-up, Tusk, was much more interesting.

One final comment about Tiger Woods’ disastrous (and, as it turns out, ill-advised) choice of including a trip to Dubai in his PGA Tour “comeback”. It’s obvious he was only there because of the dough-re-mi he was being paid to show up, because it’s obvious his game didn’t show up there with him. And it had nothing to do with slow greens. He can whine all he wants – there’s never been a bigger whiner than Woods – but the sad truth is that he played like crap and looked old and damaged while doing it. You really have to wonder if we’re really ever going to see him teeing it up on a regular basis ever again.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:55 | Comments (0)
February 4, 2017

Groundhog Day comment borrowed from a comment on another website…

…Hillary climbed out of her burrow and saw her shadow. Four more years of her NOT being President!

Indeed. But there’s always 2020.

Not that I’m a great fan of his (though, I’ll admit, I find his ability to make liberals apoplectic quite admirable) I just purchased Milo Yiannopoulos’ book “Dangerous”. Ought to be an interesting read, to say the least.

…along those same lines, if I had thought my previous opinion of Democrats and liberals couldn’t get any lower, the riot at U Cal Berkeley because of (gasp!) a speech by Milo was enough to create absolute mayhem, destroy property, and injure people was enough to push me over the edge. These people are dangerous nuts, and perhaps a bullet or two like what happened at Kent State might ultimately be needed in order to smack some sense of reality into these thugs. This is not in some friggin’ third-world banana republic, a**holes, you’re in the United States of America. You don’t like Trump? Fine. Organize, peacefully protest your asses off until 2018 if you want to defeat him by the ballot box. Otherwise, abide by the rule of law or take your so-called revolution to another country where you can find yourselves a Starbucks (one you haven’t destroyed!) to get your Grande latte.

Personally, I would love to see the Democrats and Chuckles Schumer filibuster President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. But we won’t get that lucky.

Hard to believe we’re only two weeks away from Spring Training.

Prediction: New England 44, Atlanta 27

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:40 | Comments (0)

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