May 30, 2017

OK, Tiger, so maybe it was prescription meds that resulted in your DUI arrest. But the question remains what the hell were you doing out on the roads at 3 AM? Surely a man of your means could afford either calling a cab or having a limo driver around to take you home. In golf I believe they would call this an “unforced error”. In reality I think there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Hopefully conservatives are starting to wake up and not all the liberal left to hound us into submission. At some point you have to take the gloves off, and politically speaking I believe in punching back twice as hard.

This is a squirrel that got lucky.

The best and worst rated in customer service. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with better and more honest folk and gotten better customer service than I have with Quicken Loans and Edelman Financial, and In N’ Out. And I completely agree with AT&T and Cox Communications near the bottom. They suck. But even though DirecTV is now part of AT&T they still seem to deliver quality service.

I read this kind of stuff and think that the American loony left can’t get more laughable or irrelevant. I hope they keep it up, because the 2018 midterms can’t come soon enough.

It’s only May and folks are already getting revved up for the New England Patriots 2017 season. Could they end up being one of the best ever? We’ll see…

Something you would never, ever see Barack Obama ever come close to doing. That’s what you would come to expect from a real president.

Enough about war, peace, and climate change. This is what the world has been waiting for.

Congratulations, President Trump, on a great first foreign trip abroad.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments Off on Tuesday Tidbits
May 29, 2017

Pretty cool that for Memorial Day the Papago Park G.C. in Phoenix (where I hit balls each weekend) decked their chipping area and putting green out with American flags. I told the guy at the pro shop desk that it was a nice gesture – something I’d bet that few people anymore would appreciate. Told him that those of us who do and would are nothing more than dinosaurs roaming the earth. That in ten, twenty years no one will give a shit.

A touching video that exemplifies everything this day is.

I will observe this day cherishing the memory of my brother Mark and all those who have died in the service of our country, whether it be as a direct result of action on the battlefield, or from the scars that resulted and chased them down thereafter until they couldn’t live with it anymore.

God bless you all.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:09 | Comments Off on Memorial Day
May 27, 2017

Since Memorial Day weekend is traditionally (and meteorologically speaking) the very cusp of summer here are a few items worthy of news and notes interspersed with some fine examples of surf music.

The Supertones: “I Surf In Black”

The twins are just starting to get over being sick, so I’ll be spending the weekend doing some light outdoor chores (swimming pool primarily), getting a haircut, hopefully planting some hydrangea (courtesy of Hi’s Silk Flowers), hitting a small bucket to work on my 5-wood and hybrids, practicing some putting, and start work on the 2017 Goodboys Invitational newsletter.

Los Straitjackets: “University Boulevard”

I think the next few weeks are going to be looked upon as a turning point in the Trump presidency. Getting rid of sleazeball and political hack FBI Director James Comey was, in effect, pulling the plug to start draining the swamp, otherwise known as the “Deep State”.

The Madeira: “Crescent Moon”

A fascinating read about lightning-strike survivors. Gotta be safe out there.

The Bambi Molesters: “Point Of No Return”

Back to the Comey firing: the White House can now install its own FBI interim director and start targeting and eliminating the Obama-placed political hacks, law-breakers, and traitors that have been leaking intelligence and subverting the Trump administration at every angle. Make no mistake about it: this is the end result of Barack Obama’s efforts to politicize everything in the federal government in order to implement his radical leftist vision as quickly as possible.

The Sandals: “(Theme From) The Endless Summer”

The Red Sox are starting to get interesting. Were David Price to come back to anywhere near his normal self (I still predict dude’s gonna end up having surgery before the end of the season) and if Eduardo Rodriguez has finally come into his own (a big if) that would give the Sox a starting rotation of Porcello, Sale, Rodriguez, Price, and who cares after that. Their bullpen is always going to be in and out, but closer Craig Kimbrel looks like a different pitcher than last year, confident and pounding the strike zone. If they could only find a halfway decent third baseman (no, Pablo “Fat Pig” Sandoval is not the answer) they could be trouble for someone come the playoffs. But again, a lot of big ifs there – not to mention a long way to go.

Laika and The Cosmnonauts: “Fadeaway”

It’s gotta be increasingly clear to just about everyone except the fawning mainstream media and her cult of followers that the country truly dodged a bullet when Hillary Clinton lost last November. Like Barack Obama, she’s a maniacal and pathological liar. Unlike Barack Obama, she was and always will be a lousy politician – not to mention arguably the most unlikeable presidential candidate who ever ran for office. Had she ever occupied the White House I truly believe the light of American freedom would have been extinguished forever, and quickly – she is that vile and evil.

Messer Chups: “Cemetary Beach”

Back to Hillary: the vast majority of people desperately want her to go away but she won’t because she can’t: years of insufferable fawning over by a mainstream media and the living off of “Clinton Inc.” simply won’t allow it. Her ego continues to be inflated by a cult of leftist lesbians, omnisexual loons, and leftover hags and feminazis from the Sixties. Look, I understand why people would have voted for her as a way to vote against Donald Trump or because they’d vote the Democratic Party line even if Adolf Hitler were running, but I simply cannot fathom the idea of anyone who could enthusiastically pull the lever for someone as ethically challenged, morally bankrupt, functionally incompetent, and intrinsically unlikeable as Hillary Clinton.

The Fathoms: “She’s The One”

You know who had a great coming-out party during President Trump’s first major foreign visit? Melania Trump. I never really “got” the attraction and interest in Michelle Obama: to me she was nothing but a bitter, angry woman who hitched her wagon to Barack Obama, mooched off the taxpayers dime, and fooled everyone into believing she possessed class and grace, of which she had neither. To finally have a First Lady who presents herself as a lovely, classy, and enthusiastic ambassador of this country and her husband’s administration is a joy to behold. No wonder liberals and the mainstream media despise her.

The Ventures: “Ajoen Ajoen”

R.I.P. Roger Moore. He was few, if anyone’s favorite 007, but that didn’t mean the movies he made weren’t entertaining and pure escapist fun.

The Sandals: “Wingnut’s Theme”

Mark my words: this is a huge scandal that’s just starting to break. Forget about anything Richard Nixon might have ever done – the depth and the scope of the Obama administration spying on private Americans is going to be breathtaking. Me? I might be wrong here, but I don’t think any of this was Barack’s doing, at least directly: he just liked being president and told Chief of Staff Valerie Jarrett to do whatever it took to keep pushing his radical agenda forward.

Insect Surfers: “Polaris”

And thank God someone has taken the reigns to protect the country from a leftist agenda attempting to wipe out this country’s history and further their own self-righteous, fascist agenda. I mean, where would it all end? George Washington owned slaves – should we take down the Washington Monument? The only thing the Progressive Left understands is someone who punches back twice as hard as they do, legally or physically. They’re cowards emboldened only by the echo chamber of their own social media, and a cancer in this country that needs to be extracted and destroyed.

Aqua Velvets: “Spanish Blue”

Hard to believe what has happened over at FOX News in such a short time. Like millions upon millions of conservatives I stopped watching FOX News a long time ago. I do enjoy FOX Business Channel, where they have accumulated some really good talent over there during the day (Maria Bartoromo, Stuart Varney, and Trish Regan especially). Now if they could only do something about that nighttime line-up…

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:57 | Comments Off on Weekending (On the Cusp Of Summer Edition)
May 25, 2017

Days until the 2017 Goodboys Invitational: 49
Location: Superstition Springs Golf Club
Score: 52 / 48 = 100
Handicap: 23.9 / Trend: 23.7 (-0.2)

A warm, breezy, and dusty day out at Superstition Springs, my go-to course whenever I need a gut-check as to where my game is. Where better, then, to officially open my preparation for the 2017 Goodboys Invitational weekend? Considering the new clubs and the first time in combat with them, today’s 102 wasn’t a bad start to the 2017 golf season. Could I have played better? Yes. Did I leave a bunch of strokes out there? Er, not that many. But considering the fact that 90% of my work to date has been on my iron play to the detriment of everything else (my short game especially) I’ll take it. Anytime I can play a 9-hole stretch at the Springs in the 40s, well, that’s not bad work.

Let’s start with the positives, because there were actually quite a few. I only hit five fairways all day, but my new Cobra F6 driver was a joy to hit all day. It’s not only long, it’s much more forgiving than my old Callaway RAZR-X. That doesn’t mean I can jump at the ball and over-swing – after all, the longer the ball travels, the farther it can go OB if I’m not careful. My iron play overall was OK. Had a few thin hits but no shanks – always a good thing. Would have liked to have had a couple swings back, but what 24-handicapper wouldn’t? But it works both ways.

Two examples come to mind: I had pulverized my drive on the 338-yard par 4 2nd (“Flat Iron”), leaving me just 118 yards to the pin set in the front of a long, thin green protected by trees on the left. Just off the fairway right, my 3/4 8-iron was pushed just enough to hit the green and dive into a bunker on the left side. I haven’t practiced sand shots in a year, and I hit it over the green 40 yards. I didn’t want to hit it long and end up back in the same bunker so I hit my pitch shot too easy, leaving another chip to the green then three-putted for an 8. That, my friends, is what is called throwing away shots.

On the other hand, I’m on the always nasty, always difficult (at least for me) 386-yard par 4 14th (“The Jungle”) which is nothing resembling a jungle. What it does have, however, is water to the front and right, and further out, water left all the way to the green. And a fairway that at its narrowest point is just twenty yards wide. I didn’t mean to, but I smacked my drive further left than I wanted to be, leaving me 140+ to the green with a large tree in front of me. I figured the longest club I could hit and get over the tree was a 7-iron, but I chunked it under the tree to a bare spot 80 yards from the pin. I didn’t want to wreck my new pitching wedge and should have just picked it up and dropped it a little further back on some grass, but I chose to try and pick it instead. It chunked off right, but fortunately hit the hill protecting the green on the right just right (no pun intended), then rolled to ten feet where I two-putted for bogey. The golf gods giveth as much as they take away.

On the not-so-great side was my short game and anything to do with my hybrids and my 5-wood. As far as the former went, that was to be expected, since I’ve hardly chipped or putted anything since Vegas back in January. My putting was especially atrocious on the front nine (19 putts) but I found a little something with my stroke I had forgotten doing on #8 and had three one-putts thereafter. Same thing with my chipping, which improved steadily on the back as I started getting used to the lightning-fast and fickle Superstition Springs greens. Clearly, however, there is still much work to do as far as my short game goes.

More alarmingly was thee way I hit (or didn’t hit) my hybrids and 5-wood. I got away with a thinned 4-hybrid at the par 4 fifth (“Billy’s Bend”), but the rest of the round the 3-hybrid and the 5 cost me dearly. On the first three par 5s I was sitting pretty long and in the middle of the fairway only to top, squib, and chunk (in that order) my second shot with the 5-wood. I can honestly say I’ve never hit a 5-wood so bad as I did today. Same goes with the 3-hybrid. Hopefully, now that I’m starting to get more comfortable with my irons I can spend a little quality time trying to figure that 5 and the two hybrids out.

The big thing is that I’ve taken the new clubs out and started to learn how to use them under game conditions. Hitting balls at the range and playing golf are two different things. The Steelhead XR irons are heavier than my old RAZR-X irons were; heavier than I remember them being when I was testing irons out at the PGA Tour Superstore, so it will take some time to get used to playing half and three-quarter short irons when the distance is less than 100 yards to tricky greens. But that’s half the fun of it: learning to play shots with new clubs.

I still have things to work on: continue tightening up those irons and trusting my swing, and the never-ending battle against jumping at the ball and maintaining my tempo, but today was a good enough start. A foundation to build on in some cases, the recognition that there is much work left to do in others. But it felt good to hit balls in a way that counted, and it felt good to grind out there on the back nine – I wasn’t striking the ball as well as I did on the front, but when I’m grinding and making bogeys instead of doubles and triples it means I’m playing with some focus and making and taking advantage of the breaks. A decent start, and looking forward to getting back out there again soon.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 16:00 | Comments Off on A Decent Start
May 24, 2017

Tomorrow is Opening Day for The Great White Shank and his new clubs, as we begin the road to the 2017 Goodboys Invitational over at the demanding and unrelenting Superstition Springs Golf Club. I’ve hit ten buckets of balls, off grass, mats, and dirt, and at some point you just have to say this is as good as it’s gonna get, trust your swing, and get the hell out there where every shot means something. Of course, I’ll have the after action report here at the Nation – good, bad, or indifferent. In the meantime, a few thoughts from what has been a damned hectic week thus far:

The mainstream media can keep dwelling on the non-existent 2016 election Trump campaign/Russia connection but if they were playing the role of true journalists instead of Democratic Party hacks they’d have to admit the President has had one hell of a successful week. His trip to the Middle East has been nothing short of historic, resetting boundaries and repairing the damage of eight years of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and submitting a budget that actually is actually based in reality unlike anything Barack Obama submitted during his presidency.

And I like the whole theme of the way the Trump administration is framing the arguments around that budget, pitting the Washington establishment against Joe Taxpayer. Of course, liberals and the media will howl about supposed “cuts” in social programs, but the fact is in Washington language a cut is what happens when you’re not continuing to increase a particular agency’s budget at the same rate as in previous years. My God, that would be like me saying I’m cutting my credit card spending because I’m only putting $5K on my credit cards in 2017 instead of $8K as in the past five years.

Beach Boys fanatics all over are all a-lather over the upcoming “Sunshine Tomorrow” release, featuring remixed tracks from their Wild Honey album as well as other unearthed rarities and unreleased tracks, circa 1967. Ought to be a good one.

At some point someone, somewhere, is going to have to stand up to the loony liberal left and its social justice warriors and say, “enough is enough”. I truly believe that day is coming – and soon – but it ain’t here yet.

The only lesson I’m willing to take from the terror attack in Manchester is what Confederate General “Stonewall Jackson” replied when asked how his army could prevail in the face of an enemy who outnumbered him: “Kill them, kill them all.” And I’m not kidding about this: you find out who the bomber trained with and who his accomplices were, and you kill them. And then find who they trained with and who their accomplices were and kill them. If you want to end savage behavior, you have to be a savage. There is no moral equivalency when it comes to death. Do it enough and at some point radical Muslims are gonna run out of volunteers.

It isn’t yet, but this is gonna be a big story. And folks are soon going to learn just how the Obama administration truly operated behind the scenes.

Back in the days when battleships looked really cool. The Texas was a sister ship of the Maine. And it wasn’t just battleships – that applied to aircraft carriers, too.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:02 | Comments Off on Wednesday Wanderings
May 20, 2017

I’ve been saying all along that once the true extent of voter fraud during the 2016 election is finally known people are going to be astounded. Believe CNN, NPR and every other sniveling liberal bastion of lies and propaganda all you want, but there is no way Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote legally. And – as my GOP upper-echelon guy told me after all the votes had been tallied – it will ultimately be shown that Trump should have won the states of Virginia, New Hampshire, and Minnesota if it weren’t for the extensive voter fraud. Perhaps even Nevada, New Mexico, and/or Colorado as well.

If this is the best the Democrats have for a Arizona gubernatorial candidate I would say they have a serious problem with their bench.

The Red Sox are hard to watch. So much of their pitching depth issues go back to that moronic decision last year by idiot John Farrell to have knuckleballer Steven Wright pinch run in a game. He ended up, of course, hurting his shoulder, was never right in Spring Training, and ended up getting injured again. Farrell should have been fired for that decision alone. Fortunately, I do still believe he’s going to be fired: the team sucks, it lacks discipline and an identity, and is horrible when it comes to playing fundamental baseball.

As long as replaces her ball properly after marking it, it would seem there’s nothing LPGA golfer Lexi Thompson can’t do.

When all is said and done Democrats are going to realize the extent of damage done to them in 2016 by Hillary’s “right hand man” Huma Abedin was incalculable. Heck, a bona fide Republican plant couldn’t have done any better. People are right to talk about Hillary’s judgment when it came to her e-mail server, but she can be equally faulted for her judgment relying on Huma’s judgment and her relying on hubby Anthony Weiner’s judgment. Bad judgment all around, I guess…

..but of course none of that matters because it was his Russia connections that gave the election to Donald Trump. Riiiiiiight.

Happened upon this song on the radio the other day and it reminded me just how damned good some of Neil Diamond’s earlier stuff could be. The song reminds me of bare trees, brown grass, and chilly Novembers walking in the woods alone in New England. Folks can laugh all they want, but Neil in his day could be real: his Robbie Robertson (The Band)-produced Beautiful Noise release from 1976 is one damned fine album – easily one that would fall inside my top twenty albums of all time.

There is a certain madness that seems to have taken over the political left in this country. I read stories like this and am damned glad that a month from now I’ll have my concealed carry license and my own weapon. The one thing I know about these so-called “activists” is that it never ends: there’s always something else they’re gonna be pissed off about and want to take away from other people. And I don’t think you should be screwing around with a nation’s history – you can’t wallpaper over who we are and how we got where we are. Simple as that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:39 | Comments (2)
May 17, 2017

Glad to finally start feeling like I’m finally getting better after getting sick for the second time this year. I never used to get sick, ever, and here it is the second time in five months I’ve been laid waste to spend most of my time in bed. I’ll tell you this: if this is what getting old is gonna be like, count me out! 🙂

I’ve been watching the mainstream media’s all-out war against Donald Trump’s presidency without much comment to date. After all, I think the guy knows what he is doing and has in his mind to do, it’s just that everything the media can possibly construe as negative and a roadblock to his agenda in any way is getting hyped so beyond belief that both they and the liberal left they are shilling for on a daily basis look like morons to most folks who live outside the Beltway and the usual liberal hotspots.

Think about it: The Obama administration unleashed Lois Lerner and the IRS to go after law-abiding Americans. The Obama administration put guns into the hands of Mexican thugs and drug lords as a way to increase gun violence along the southern border and serve as a reason for them to push their gun control agenda. The Obama administration went on camera and described every friggin’ aspect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Obama administration leaked the use of a virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration put out Susan Rice to blame the Benghazi attacks on a video. There are still 30,000 e-mails Hillary Clinton hasn’t turned over to the FBI, and it is obvious beyond any reasonable doubt that she and Huma Abedin shared classified secrets in any number of unsecured ways.

Remember any special counsel that was assigned to look into those matters? Neither do I.

Because there wasn’t one.

I understand why, of course. Throughout his administration the GOP establishment allowed Barack Obama and his cronies to get away with murder – literally – because they were afraid the mainstream media wouldn’t love them anymore and would call them racists. (Which, of course, they would have.)

Anyone who has read the fine expose on Hillary Cinton’s failed campaign, “Shattered” knows that the entire Russia meddling story was cooked up by Hillary’s campaign the day after she lost because: a) they couldn’t believe for themselves that someone as reprehensible as Donald Trump could have beaten someone like Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, and b) they simply couldn’t bring themselves to admit that the reason for (a) was the fact she and her campaign ran a lousy campaign virtually from beginning to end. And to ensure that Trump’s presidency never gain a foothold in Washington, they enlisted all of their resources embedded in the federal government – most especially in the FBI, DOJ, and NSA – to do whatever it takes to give President Trump’s administration any whiff of legitimacy.

I mean, it’s really that simple. And even more than that, everyone in DC knew this was going to happen and knows this, and has simply accepted the fact that that’s how the game is going to be played going forward – perhaps even, I think, the Prez himself. Look at the people he’s surrounded himself with. Lots of Washington insiders from his Chief of Staff Reince Preibus on down. See, I think President Trump committed himself to try to work within the system to see if the system would be willing to meet with him half way. After all, that’s what a successful businessman does to be successful. If you work both sides, grease some palms, and negotiate tough in the end you’ll get most of what you were looking for in the first place.

I’m hoping President Trump is now finding out the hard way it doesn’t work like that. Which is why I’m glad that a special counsel has been appointed to get to the bottom of this so-called Russian conspiracy thing. Because when it’s over, I think the Prez should look at Reince and the staff they chose to go to war with and say, “Look, I tried to do it your way and see how much time we have wasted. Now I’m putting in my own people who will swear loyalty to me, and I’m canning the incompetents and the leakers.” Get rid of Reince (I’d love to see Newt Gingrich in that role), overhaul the way the White House communicates with the press, cancel the kind of daily circus the daily press briefings have become, move the press out of the West Wing, and revoke White House privileges for any news organization that publishes fake news using anonymous sources. And that means the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC to start. You can’t eliminate their rights to write and publish freely, but you can certainly make a statement about how you feel about the way they do business.

It’s sad because it shouldn’t have to be this way. There is no respect in the national media for the office of the President, they’ve reduced themselves to being nothing more than an arm of the political opposition in open resistance – if not rebellion – with President Trump and the voters who elected him to office. I mean, to follow Yahoo! News on a daily basis and see the regular drumbeat of stories like this is are a thing unworthy of a great republic, more akin to a banana republic. Obviously, Yahoo! News seems to not care that millions of people who use it as a home page voted for and continue to support President Trump. And all it does is feed the liberal left’s Trump Derangement Syndrome even more.

And this is not to say that the President himself doesn’t shoulder at least some of the blame. He’s allowed this circus to go on like it has instead of nipping it in the bud from the very first days of his administration. Even though he’s been in office a little less than four months, he’s got a lot to show for as far as accomplishments go, but his administration, most especially his White House Communications Office, seems woefully underequipped for the task. Don’t like what CNN or MSNBC is saying? Put forceful and articulate spokespeople on to push back. Threaten GOP House and Senate leaders with a 2018 midterm strategy where he will run against Congress and encourage GOP candidates to be primaried if they don’t start supporting his agenda more forcefully. After all, it was Trump who got himself elected, not the GOP establishment. He ran against Washington in 2016, I guarantee he’ll do it again if necessary. And this time he’ll be doing it from the bully pulpit.

Personally, I’m not worried about President Trump achieving most, if not all the goals he setout to accomplish when he ran in 2016 whenever his term ends. I have a gut feeling that these earliest of days in his administration will be looked upon as a time of discovery, seeing what worked and what didn’t, enabling him to fix the latter and clear whatever obstacles that existed out of the way. And I guarantee that when this Russia bullsh*t dust settles, he’ll be ready to make whatever changes are necessary.

Image courtesy of Political Cartoons

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:51 | Comments Off on Politically Speaking
May 13, 2017

It was during my last test drive of irons at the PGA Tour Superstore that Cain, the sales associate and golf instructor wannabe referenced in this post, offered up a couple of suggestions after watching me hit some balls. I’ll repeat the pertinent aspects here for the purposes of this post:

…[Cain] also didn’t like the position of my club at address, it was tilted too far forward. He wanted to see the shaft pointing out of my belly button.

…Cain explained to me that having the club leaning forward in my stance and my grip taken together promote mis-hits because the club face was never square at contact.

He: “I’ll bet you pull a lot of shots to your right.”

Me: “When I’m not shanking them to the left.”

He: “No wonder you fight the shanks. You seem to have to work really hard to keep that club face square when you come through the impact zone. You need to think about the changes I suggested. Otherwise, every swing you take is a shank waiting to happen.”

Ever since that conversation I’ll admit to being haunted by it, because I knew deep down everything he had said was true. Because for the past few years, outside of a couple of nice (albeit short) good streaks I had prior to the last two Goodboys, I’ve really struggled with my irons – most especially my short irons. Hitting a green in regulation has become a distant memory. Lots of pulls and outright yanks combined with increasingly-regular visitations from the shanks. And I surely didn’t tell him that it had gotten worse – much worse – over the past six months, to the point where I’d lost all my confidence in my irons.

The first time I tried out my new irons at the Kokopelli Golf Club driving range, I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t make a damned bit of difference in how I hit them or how well they performed. It doesn’t matter if you’re Tiger Woods or a 24-handicap: put a set of clubs in your hand – any set of clubs, from any manufacturer – and you’ll end up shooting around the same score. It’s not the clubs, stupid, it’s the person hitting them.

It didn’t take my new irons long to realize they weren’t in Kansas anymore. I shanked the first four balls hit with my brand spanking new pitching wedge. After which I yanked a couple way right.

“I can’t live like this”, I said to no one in particular after apologizing to my new clubs – after all, they certainly didn’t deserve this. And it was then I decided that Cain might be right: it was time to throw out my whole set-up at address with my irons and start over. From scratch.

It was a big change I’d be making, almost like learning how to hit a golf ball all over again. Who knows how long I had taken to holding my irons like that at address? Maybe it had been years. Maybe it was just a bad habit I had fallen into recently – after all, I’ve never had the shanks as bad as I’ve had them since last fall. And I certainly don’t remember my swing coach Alex Black mentioning anything about it during any of lessons together. But when you’re hitting your irons as bad as I have been there’s clearly nothing wrong with throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Two trips to the driving range and four buckets later, I can officially say I’m in no man’s land, struggling with the new set-up, but confident that if I could ever get comfortable with the club position at address Cain suggested I’m going to hit the ball a lot straighter and more consistently, which is what it’s all about. I remember reading somewhere that noted golf instructor Dr. Jim Suttie has said it takes a thousand golf swings to implement a swing change, and I’m feeling it right now. Holding my irons at set-up without any kind of forward angle feels foreign and awkward. Instinctively, I want to use my upper body to come through the ball because I’m so afraid to shank the ball. Which is stupid, because I was having so much trouble with the shanks prior to this change. I guess that’s why Dr. Suttie also has that great saying, “Golf is hard.”

Right now I’m so in between that the ball is going everywhere: shanks, pulls, slices, chunks, skulls. But every once in a while – and today I was able to keep it together for a dozen swings for the first time before losing it again – when I’m able to stay quiet, not jump at the ball, staying quiet with my upper body and just focus on making solid contact with the ball it travels high and, most importantly, straight. I’m not worried right now about distance: I figure that will come later as I learn to make more solid contact and gain some confidence. For now I just want to hit my short irons straight.

Which is something else I’m doing different that I’ve never done before: outside of a couple of balls with every club the first time out just to see how they felt, the only clubs I’m currently hitting are the pitching wedge, 9-iron, and 8-iron, nothing else. There’s a method to the madness: these are the scoring clubs. If I want to play bogey golf (that’s still my goal; right now 2027 looks like a good target year!) I have to chop six strokes off my handicap. And the only way I’m going to do that is to get better results whenever I’m inside 120 yards. I’ve looked at my performance over the past few years and have carefully watched the games of my Goodboys I play with most regularly, and know my sloppiness and inconsistency inside that range is what has been holding me back the most. So those three clubs are the only clubs I’m hitting right now, and that’s how it will stay until I’ve learned to hit them consistently. And the same holds true as far as playing actual golf is concerned: there will be no practice rounds, either. If it takes me up to Goodboys Invitational weekend (or even beyond that), so be it – I’m committed to making this change and will do it come hell or high water.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 01:42 | Comments (2)
May 12, 2017

850 songs, that is, on my Zen Surf music collection featuring surf music both classic and contemporary from around the world. I’ll admit that since my last post on this most respected and underappreciated rock music genre, my collection has laid pretty much fallow since my last post nearly two years to the day. But a couple of things happened recently that inspired me to re-engage to see what was out there: 1) listening to it over the past few days while working made me realize it had become a little stale and predictable, and 2) stumbling on a couple of new (at least for me) and exciting surf bands while ordering other stuff on

Regarding #1: it’s no surprise that I’d be posting about surf music around the same time as my last post. Just like August draws me into listening to classical music for a couple of months before the fall draws me back to music by Pink Floyd and Gordon Lightfoot, among others, and after the New Year my taste turns to my Tropical Breezes collection, as soon as spring starts thinking about turning into summer and the days start getting demonstrably warmer, I start listening to surf music. And as far as my Zen Surf collection goes, well, I’d put that up against anyone else’s surf collection. Still, it’s only natural that after a while you get used to hearing a lot of the same songs over and over again and you start thinking about what might be out there that you are missing.

Regarding #2: last Friday night I was poking around because I wanted to order the new Jimmy Buffett biography coming out in a few days (it will be my reading material when I go back to Massachusetts for Goodboys Invitational week in July) that Amazon pre-selected for me a release by The Bambi Molesters, a surf band from Croatia, which then led me to a band called Insect Surfers, which in turn led me to an all-girl band called The Neptunas, which finally led me to a wild and crazy “surf n’ roll” band Messer Chups from Russia. What can I say? I cranked up my Amazon Music application and started downloading like crazy.

The Bambi Molesters are a damned fine group – in fact, their release “As The Dark Wave Swells” is about as good a surf release as anyone has done. Their music is wonderfully arranged, not too crazy when loud, almost hypnotic in their quieter arrangements. And they have a very attractive bass player, Lada Furlan Zaborac, who plays as good as she looks. Here’s a YouTube video that’ll give you a good idea as to their look and sound. All their stuff is good.

Insect Surfers is a band from Washington, D.C., of all places. A solid surf band that serves up classic sounds with a hint (sometimes more than a hint) of psychedelia that has been around a long time – can’t believe I’d never heard of them. Here’s a YouTube video to give you an idea of what they look and sound like. Note the classic Fender equipment and the tiki in the background!

The Neptunas have what I would consider the most classic surf sound of the four bands. Lots of ’60s surf and garage rock influence here, almost as if the Go-Gos decided to go a little retro and try surf. I wouldn’t say their music is memorable, but it’s definitely surf and a worthwhile addition to the Zen Surf collection. Here’s a YouTube video of their sound.

I’ve saved the most exotic of the three for last. The only way I can describe Messer Chups is that they’re close to the surf band equivalent to what Pink Floyd was in how they use music as just one aspect of their multi-media approach. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what they’re identity is. Certainly, surf is the foundation for everywhere else their music takes them, but as their website explains:

In their music Messer Chups combine surf, beats, film samples, scratchy historical recordings, lounge-y and cartoon sounds from the 50?s and 60?s.The show is combined with video from trash cult movies of the middle of the last century – Betty Page, Bela Lugosi, zombies, Russ Meyer’s and Ed Wood’s heroes all mixed in video collages of the master Gitarkin. Messer Chups is the project of Russian composer Oleg Gitarkin, and while the band’s instrumental rock is hard to neatly categorize, it’s safe to say that it would be enjoyed by fans of rockabilly, horror punk, scratchy surf records, Italian slasher films, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, pulp fiction, lounge music, Ed Wood, the theremin, the Cramps, Russ Meyer movies and the theme song from “The Addams Family.” Gitarkin incorporates all of these elements and more, layering samples from Russian B-movies over weird vintage keyboard chirps and groovy horn loops.

What I found immediately striking about Messer Chups was that, like The Bambi Molesters, they have a female bassist named Zombie Girl or Zombierella who is – and I’m going out on a limb here – one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. What can I say? Don’t believe me? Check out this YouTube video. It gives you a good idea of what the band sounds like. A few of their songs are a bit over the top – they really like to incorporate their love of horror into their music – but their music is unique and a welcome addition to Zen Surf.

So there you have it: in four very different bands a microcosm of why I love surf music so much. No bullshit rap, no phony synthesizers, just music played on real instruments that is clean and distinct. A genre that allows for lots of improvisation. A genre where you can’t hide behind space-age technology – either you can play or you can’t. And that includes female bass players. 🙂

Dudes (and dudettes), my Zen Surf collection just keeps getting better and better.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:08 | Comments Off on Zen Surf Turns 850 (And More!)
May 10, 2017

A few thoughts and comments at the midweek:

We had some pretty strange weather these past few days here in the Valley of the Sun. On Saturday we hit a high of 101, approximately ten degrees higher than normal, then saw the high on Sunday drop to a cool 72. Last night we actually had a quarter inch of rain from a storm moving across the state that actually brought the rain in from the southeast. Very unusual, considering: a) May is usually our second driest month (behind November), and b) rain from the southeast typically doesn’t happen until the monsoon season. And then tonight, bright moon shining down on the swimming pool from a hole in the clouds while rain poured down creating stars on the water. The air so clean and finally dust free, the cornstalk rustle of the palm trees – wish y’all could have seen it, it was a beautiful sight.

Yesterday morning, I was taking a break between calls and was talking to my neighbor John, and he remarked how we were living in paradise: the temperatures in the low 70s and a little humidity in the air – we could have been in a town outside San Diego. Not only that, but the houses in our subdivision are at the highest re-sale values he’s ever seen. You see, we’re benefitting not just from a rebounding economy – thank you President Trump! – but from all the building they are doing to the east and southeast, which is just making our location ten minutes from all the main freeways around here that much more desirable. In real estate, location is everything.

…Of course, in order to sell you have to somewhere to move. And right now we’re pretty content as to where we are.

I already liked VP Mike Pence, but knowing the Pences have a bunny for a pet only reinforces my view he’s a good man with a good family. You can even follow Marlon Bundo, “Bunny of the United States” on Instagram. He’s cute.

Just finished reading Robert Lusetich’s “Unplayable: An Inside Account of Tiger’s Most Tumultuous Season” and found it fascinating. Folks tend to forget that before his cheating-on-Elin scandal erupted Woods was playing at a very high level. It’s incredible to think we’ve now gone nearly nine – count ’em – nine years without Woods winning another major. He was, and remains, a complex individual – one who, even with the incredible career he has had, I have little doubt would admit that he underachieved during his professional career. He futzed around with his swing too many times and made some questionable choices off the course that resulted in injuries he never should have had. Most importantly, he’s never sounded as if he were truly happy – a sad way to go through life. His father’s passing had an incalculable impact on him, but even before that he never projected himself as anything more than a brand to be cultivated and sold.

Frankly, I’m amazed FBI Director James Comey lasted this long. His handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail affair was beyond incompetent, and he should have been amongst the first fired by Trump. He knew damned well what Hillary Clinton had done, knew what laws she had broken, but chose politics over the rule of law in order to accommodate the Obama administration, Loretta Lynch’s corrupt Department of Justice, and Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

…If I were Robbie Mook, Hillary’s former campaign manager, Comey’s firing should have him terrified – for his former boss. Hey Hillary, I’ve got two words you might want to write down for future reference: Grand Jury. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if AG Jeff Sessions reopens the Hillary investigation and lets the courts decide whether what Hillary did as far as her e-mail server and classified information go rise to the level of prosecution.

…But somehow I think she already knows the answer to that question. I will say this: Donald Trump is holding one very large bargaining chip when it comes to the Democrats, and the funny thing is they’re too clueless to even realize it.

I tried to tell y’all based on what I saw of them in Spring Training, the New York Yankees are for real and are going to give the Sox and Orioles all they can handle in the American League East. And outside of a couple of players, they’re not an unlikeable bunch. I’m not sure they have enough pitching, but neither do the Sox. And don’t be fooled by the Sox’ offensive explosion of the past weekend – the Twins are awful. Wouldn’t surprise me to see the Sox and the Yanks go down to the wire as far as who finishes in first.

…along those same lines, it’s too bad the Sox had to bench CF Jackie Bradley, Jr.; he’s one of the players I truly enjoy watching. But after 3+ years it’s pretty clear that while he’s an incredibly-gifted CF, he’s also a frustratingly streaky hitter – something you just can’t have in a lineup with offensive holes at both 3B and catcher.

…along those same lines, isn’t OF Andrew Binentendi fun to watch? He’s going to be a good one.

Hard to believe, even with the mainstream media so damned biased against the Republicans, that this story isn’t getting more play. I think it’s clear that Hillary Clinton’s failed run for the presidency (I’ve got the book and can’t wait to start reading it) was the result of totally corrupt Democratic Party machine headed by the equally-corrupt Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Talk about a swamp needing to be drained!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:32 | Comments Off on Midweek Meanderings


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