July 13, 2018

Seems like it was yesterday, stuck in the grunge of “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”, and the Goodboys all wondering about where we are going to play, how much will it cost, who is my partner, who will tuck me into bed at night, etc. etc. etc. I’ve melted down couple-two-three times, hurt my back, saw Arizona winter turn into summer, saw the monsoon season come in, then hurt my back again. The calendar doesn’t care. As Jimmy Buffett sang, “the days drift by, they don’t have names.” I’ve been trying like hell to get my last “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” deliverable done, but things keep getting in the way and what was December is now July and not just July, but Goodboys July, and I’ll be heading to the airport in, like, two hours and there’s still so much to do.

The golf clubs are packed. The orange balls of Arizona golf have been swapped out for brand spankin’ new white Callaway Supersofts. The Hawaiian shirts are all hanging by the suitcase, the golf shorts picked out by Tracey to make the loudest statement possible. If you can’t play well, then look good doing it.

I feel really good about my golf game. I love my TaylorMade M2 irons, and as good as I thought my game was going into last year’s Goodboys Invitational weekend, I feel like my golf game is light years ahead of that. Most certainly, my “situational awareness” is better and my strategy of sticking with the “three principles” – 3/4 swing, keeping my lower body quiet, finish up on my back big toe” – is a great strategy that only The Great White Shank can torpedo if he lets what lies between his ears get in the way.

The back is a big concern, though. I’ve been taking some muscle relaxants that seem to work really good, but if it’s Goodboys week I’ve got to play. I’ve got five rounds in the next nine days scheduled, and the back has to hold up. After that, I don’t care. I’ll hit the gym when I get back and just work on my back muscles to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

There’s a sense of change in the air. My dad really wants to transition away from the apartment he and Mom shared for the past ten years and he has lived in for the 2+ years since Mom passed away. Hard to believe it’s been that long, but the calendar doesn’t lie. To me, Goodboys is really the mid-point of the year. When Goodboys weekend is over, my New England bones start thinking about fall (even though summer here in the Valley of the Sun still has more than 2 1/2 months to go. I have a weekend in Vegas planned for December where I want to repeat almost to the minute everything I did last year before I got that text while driving back to Phoenix from that dick-head that started the whole descent into madness that to a lesser extent is still going on. As if creating an alternate universe will make things better. Oh well, at least the stress and the slurring of words is gone, and I can sleep most nights without dreaming about work.

Well, I gotta take a shower and finish packing. See y’all in the Eastern Time Zone.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:02 | Comments (0)
July 11, 2018

Been quite the active week here in the Valley of the Sun as far as the weather goes. The weather folks said last month that it was going to be an active monsoon season this year with a lot of dust and a lot of rain – given the fact that it’s not yet the middle of July and monsoon season goes through the better part of September, I guess they weren’t just whistling Dixie.

Take Monday for example. During the day all the talk was about that really bad storm that hit the west side of the Valley on Sunday night. 50 MPH winds and a downburst with even higher winds. You look at this story about what happened in Buckeye, and it’s pretty incredible.

Look, I love a good thunderstorm just as much as the next guy, but out here I’ve learned to respect – and fear – downbursts (also known as microbursts) and their damaging winds akin to small tornadoes. Just a couple of years back we had a microburst hit just on the edge of our subdivision just five minutes away from us. Big mesquites taken down in a row from west to east. And where we were? Just some rain and wind.

On Monday I had to take Tracey to physical therapy for her shoulder, and on our way there her phone was already showing a severe thunderstorm warning for storms moving east to west. By the time I got there, you could hear everyone’s phones beeping with the warnings. I checked my phone and there not only was a severe thunderstorm warning, but a dust storm warning as well. I looked out the window of her place and it looked like the end of the world was upon us – a wall of dust moving ahead of the blue-black clouds of the thunderstorm itself:

As the storm rolled through our house didn’t get the worst of it, but it was pretty impressive, nevertheless.

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On Tuesday it was kind of cloudy and muggy, the sun peeking through a gray-brown dusty sky. I wanted to work on my game so I headed out to Superstition Springs for a small bucket and to work on my short game. By the time I got there the sun was gone and a cool-ish kind of ill wind was whipping across the driving range. The range was completely empty, the lush green grass around the putting green from just a few weeks ago now down to a weedish scrub, the quick green sheen of a rocket-fast putting green replaced by aerated srub. That’s what two weeks of 110-degree temperatures will do to you. I grabbed a small bucket and went to work. Specifically, I was looking to reinforce my three principles (3/4 swing, keep the lower body quiet, finish up on my back toe) and then reinvent my short game for something like the 4,327th time. It was ten days from the Goodboys Invitational weekend and the time for crewing around was over.

It all felt kind of foreign to me. The wind alternated between a warm, muggy wind from the south and a cool, damp wind from the east. There was no need for a hat – every time I put it on my head the wind would take it and send it rolling across the empty bays to my left. I worked my way through the bucket and felt like I did a pretty good job sticking with my principles. And with the hard wind working right to left, it would have been fun to try some knockdown shots, but instead I worked on aiming right of target and letting the wind take it in. I hit the ball good enough for what I was trying to accomplish, then turned my attention to my short game.

Towards the west I could see rain falling and the familiar monsoony-smell of creosote bushes in the air. After playing around with a few different club angles at address and ball positions, I settled for what I felt most comfortable with and playing the ball in the middle of my stance instead of off my back foot. Towards the end I was hitting twenty-yard pitches across the pitching / chipping area when one of my downswings caught a clump of grass behind my ball. I felt a sharp twinge in my lower back and knew I had better stop immediately. Rain had started to fall lightly anyways, and I could smell and taste the dust that came with it.

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As soon as I got home it was thundering to the south and west, but not close to us. But you could tell there was more dust. I peeled the clothes off me, poured myself a glass of Pinot Grigio, and dipped my cranky back into the pool. You could see the dust off to the west, and the palm trees, wine glass and coral-colored posts of the patio against the gray clouds, so I snapped this picture:

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It’s late Wednesday night and we’re getting a garden-variety thunderstorm outside. Not too much wind, some occasional thunder and lightning, and some additional rain – something no one around here will ever complain about. My back is bad – if 10 was as bad as it could get when I first hurt it a month ago, right now it’s about a seven. It’s really hard to move so I’m trying some muscle relaxants and see what I can do to get on some anti-inflammatories before I head back to Massachusetts on a Friday night red-eye. I would like to hit a small bucket and work some more on my short game on Saturday ahead of playing golf on Monday and Thursday before Goodboys Invitational weekend a week from Friday through Sunday, but right now, to quote Frank Zappa, I figure the odds be 50-50 that I’m gonna take a chance on that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:48 | Comment (1)
July 9, 2018

Trump Derangement Syndrome, example 1,297,600. You read stories like this and this, and it’s hard to not agree with Michael Savage when he wrote that liberalism was a mental disorder. As Boston radio talk host Howie Carr is wont to say, “Your agony is my joy.”

…another thought: I’m betting that same putrid wallflower considers herself a feminist. I thought feminists considered themselves tough, strong, equal to men in every way. Frankly, this woman sounds like she needs a man to protect her from herself and tell her, “Suck it up, buttercup!”

Liberalism suicide watch. Some of them are pretty funny.

What’s really sad about today’s liberals and liberalism in general is their complete innate and inability to laugh at themselves, others, and the world around them. That’s what made comics like Bob Newhart, Rodney Dangerfield, and Don Rickles so funny back in their day. Just go out on YouTube and look some of their videos – even forty years later they are (as they say) LMAO. George Carlin was really good until the very end when much (not all) of his stuff became more angry than funny. But he still knew how to turn the screws – his routine on global warming remains a classic, and one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear.

Do you think in today’s culture Mel Brooks could have made The Producers or Blazing Saddles? Of course not. And Monty Python’s Life of Brian? When it came out, it was deemed outrageous and blasphemous at the time for its nativity beginning and crucifixion ending. You know what scene today would cause the greatest sense of outrage? This one. Because the least funny and tolerant people in the world are transgenders, who have been so spoon-fed liberalism from day one that they think they’re so damned special and that their rights trumps (excuse the expression) those of others. They’ve not only lost their sense of body, but of mind. You don’t believe me?

You know what conservatives did the day after Barack Obama was elected? They went to work and continued living their lives just as they did on the last day of George W. Bush’s presidency. Folks like the pathetic wallflower mentioned in the above are actually pretty sick folks. As are the ones who harass and terrorize folks simply because they are wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. Because that’s what they are – terrorists. We’re nearly two years into Donald Trump’s presidency and liberals still can’t get over it. But this is what happens when you’ve traded your existence for the emptiness daily politics brings.

Elections have consequences. It’s time for liberals to grow up and get over it.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:39 | Comments (0)
July 7, 2018

We’re down to less than two weeks before Goodboys Invitational weekend. I’m getting mentally in shape for it by catching the last couple of hours of the European Tour events on Golf Channel just as I’m starting work – this weekend it’s the Irish Open, next weekend it’s the Scottish Open, all leading up to the Open Championship which is always the same weekend as Goodboys Invitational weekend.

For me, the only professional golf event that comes close to the Open Championship is the Masters. I have fond memories of putting on the Open at my folks’ place on Thursday and Friday prior to Goodboys, since that’s where I’m usually staying. There’s just something about being back home in New England and watching morning golf in a faraway, exotic place. And then catching portions of it over Goodboys weekend prior to us playing on Saturday and Sunday has always been a lot of fun. Back in the day we’d have one of the rooms set up with a Bloody Mary bar and we’d all camp out and watch the coverage before it was time to go. Fun memories.

Nuclear test explosion videos. Kinda hard to believe we as human beings used to do this kind of stuff. Pretty frightening, actually. All I can think of is all the fish and desert critters killed as we tried to figure out how best to inflict the maximum amount of damage on human beings.

You’re Nancy Pelosi. And you’re wondering how on earth just ten years after having the presidency, the House and the Senate you’re now reduced to having to come out against a jobs report that is pretty much universally praised. Do you hate Donald Trump that much that you can’t even give him a smidge of credit for something that actually helps Americans and your constituents?

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is a fraud, always was. Donald Trump just has the balls to call her on it. And Mark Steyn’s column on “her fraudness” is a must-read laugh a minute.

Sorry to hear about Elvis Costello’s health issues. I mean, Elvis Costello! If he can grow old and have to battle a form of aggressive cancer, what does that mean for us mere mortals?

We had our first taste of monsoon on Wednesday with a small dust storm that hinted at bigger and better things to come. Everyone around here is hoping for a wet monsoon season because the long-term forecast for a low-grade El Nino is for another unusually warm and dry winter.

Tiger and Phil square off for a $10 million “grudge match”? Count me all in. Ought to be a blast to watch.

I guess karma is a bitch.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 03:03 | Comments (0)
July 4, 2018

Days until the 2018 Goodboys Invitational: 16
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 26.0 / Change: (+0.8)
Location: Stonecreek Golf Club
Score: 55 / 54 = 109

July 4th golf in the Valley of the Sun. Get there, get your round in, get out before the afternoon “witching hours” set in. My goal today was to adhere to the same three principles on every shot: 1) take a 3/4 swing; 2) keep my lower body quiet; 3) finish up on my back foot big toe. It’s all about trying to eliminate my tendencies to over-swing and yank the ball with an over-active shoulder turn. While the score wasn’t insignificant, I’m in Goodboys Invitational weekend preparation mode, so it was all about swing and target visualization, taking practice swings, and adhering to the three principles.

By and large, I’m pretty happy with my goal achievement today. While I only hit four fairways all day, there were only two drives I was unhappy with: an over-swing on the par 4 #6 which I pulled into a fairway bunker, and the par 4 #10 where I not only hit my drive, but my mulligan OB into the condos on the left with a big balloon push by not finishing my swing.

What killed me today was – surprisingly – my short game. Which, admittedly, I haven’t worked on at all, but it hadn’t been a problem until today. Today it was a huge problem. The 27 putts weren’t outrageously bad, but the three 3-putts on the back nine didn’t help. To be truthful, I never really gave myself much of a chance on the greens today – my chipping was awful. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about because: a) I was playing around with chipping with an 8-iron in anticipation of the grasses and greens back in New England, and b) I’ll work on my short game in earnest when in back in Massachusetts for Goodboys Week.

What really killed my round was a ghastly stretch of four eights in a span of five holes. On the par 4 #6 it took me two tries to get out of the fairway bunker, then I flared a 9-iron from 122 yards into a greenside bunker on the left, then had to take two tries to get out of that. On the par 5 #7, it took me 5 strokes to get the ball into the hole from 70 yards out. I messed up two chips before three-putting on that devilish green. After bogeying #8, I hit a decent drive on the par 4 #9 that left me 187 yards to the pin from the center of the fairway. Here I hit my first truly awful iron of the day, chunking a 5-iron, then yanking a 7-iron into a greenside bunker right. It took me two tries to get out of that bunker and then three-putting from twelve feet to earn that snowman. And then on the par 4 #10, lying three after my drive and mulligan OB, I chipped out into a good spot, then shanked a 9-iron from 120, then chunked a sand wedge into a greenside bunker.

….Ahh yes, my sand game. It killed me today. How many strokes did it take to get out of the eight – count ’em, eight! – bunkers I ended up in today? If you guessed 14, you’d be right. But seriously, I’m not going to worry about it or even lose sleep over it. And I’m not going to commit myself to standing in a sand trap for two hours on a blazing hot July afternoon to work on my sand game. The easiest way to deal with it is simply to try and avoid them at all cost.

At this point my round could have gone either way, but I regrouped on the ride to the eleventh tee and re-committed myself to what I was trying to do out there. And while my scores didn’t reflect it, I kinda sorta did pull it together the rest of the way in. Outside of the two par 3s – #12 and #15 – where I yanked two five irons into the water right (I do plan on working this out!) – I actually hit a number of quality shots until I got around the green. Threw a lot of strokes away with my short game down the stretch, but my ball-striking was pretty darned good. I hit my 5-wood consistently well all day, and I even tossed in a very aggressive 4-hybrid from 190 yards to twelve feet from the pin. I three-putted for bogey (of course), but the shot was a beauty to behold.

So that’s gonna close out my competitive golf here in the Valley of the Sun until at least November. I’ll probably hit the range to work on my “three principles” a couple of times before heading back, but overall I’m feeling pretty positive about my game. I’m getting more used to the distances on my M2s, and I’m looking forward to working on my short game on good ol’ New England grasses and greens. It’s disappointing to see that I’m back to being a 26-handicap, and I’m still committed to getting myself down to a 20 at some point, but it won’t be this year.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:21 | Comments (0)
July 3, 2018

You’re probably wondering (or could care less) why I haven’t been blogging. As hard to believe as it might be – or maybe it’s not hard to believe at all – we’ve had a setback at the so-called “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. Without going into details, what everyone assumed had been completed wasn’t completed. And there are a lot of fingers being pointed at various folks because of it, including, of course, yours truly. So now, over the holiday, I have my team having to do a whole bunch of stuff I thought we were done and gone with.

Got called on the carpet by one of the bigwigs asking when all of this will end. Told him I didn’t know. Don’t think he was too happy. Heads are starting to roll over the mistakes that have been made. My boss’s boss got his walking papers yesterday. My own boss? He’s keeping his distance. Not exactly the tact I would take, but I honestly don’t care anymore. I don’t think they’ll come after me, but if they do I really don’t give a sh*t – let life play out the way it has to. I’ll go with whatever fate decides. There are more important things to worry about – like, can I discipline myself to take 3/4 swings, keep my lower body quiet, and finish up on my back foot big toe.

Thing is, I was one of the loudest voices back in November telling all the clowns managing the project that it wasn’t ready to implement. They were asking me for answers to questions. I told them not only didn’t I have the answers to their questions, I didn’t even know all the questions yet. And after all this time my team is the equivalent to the Ebola virus while everyone and every other dick-head in upper management who allowed this fiasco to happen (well, as of today, minus one) is allowed to skate.

Keep in mind I’ve been living this fiasco day in, day out for more than eight months. Eight months! I can’t help but think there will comee a time when I’m laying in some hospital bed, old and withered, wondering when the dick-head who is supposed to change my bed pan will ever get off his iPhone (or whatever they are using at the time) and what I could have been doing during these eight months instead of being on this miserable, never-ending chain gang.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:46 | Comments (2)

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