July 31, 2018

Another big monsoon storm hits the Valley of the Sun. Another “meh” monsoon storm hits the area around the Richard hacienda in Gilbert. Here is what it looked like in one part of the Valley.

This monsoon storm started as it always seems to do: It’s after 5 PM and I’m busying myself in the salt mine known as “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”, which reared its ugly head once again this week, dropping the equivalent of a load of bricks onto me and my beleaguered team. I’m convinced that, like a case of herpes, this client will never go away. Oh, it might retire into remission for several weeks (in this case, just three), but then all of a sudden I’ve got the same dick-head VPs on my tail wondering when I can fix this and give them that – all, of course at no charge. And all of this nine – count ’em, nine! – months after this client first went live on our software. Foolish me: I thought I worked for a for-profit company.

But I digress. My apologies for prattling on. I just wonder if by the time I’m supposed to go to Vegas in December – without my laptop! – whether or not I’ll be rid of this client and their incessant demands. But who are the true idiots here? They know they have my company over a barrel, and believe me, they’re milking it for all it’s worth. Me? I’d tell them to go screw. But that’s just me. For that matter, were I not just a few short years from retirement I’d tell them all to go screw. Maybe they’ll tell me to go screw. Now that would be a mixed blessing!

But I digress. Again.

So there I am, playing the role of working stiff, when what was just a minute prior a bright, late afternoon office room almost instantaneously plunges into an ominous shadow. I look out the window and see these odd-looking blue-gray clouds sliding under a gray-brown sky.

“Uh oh”, says I.

I head out the front door and get a call from Tracey. She says she’s just leaving work and heading out of her parking lot right into a wall of dust moving towards her. I go out the front door and feel a little rustle of wind, but know from the look and feel of things something’s coming. I don’t see anything resembling a wall, but the sky has sure turned a sickly brown and I can already taste the grit in my mouth. (I’m not surprised, by the way – I had just backwashed the pool and washed down the back patio and tiki bar the day before, so of course we’re going to get a dust storm!)

I head out back to take a look at things, and all of a sudden the wind starts thrashing:

I immediately hear a couple of crackles and I know the palm trees are getting hit hard from the north. I hear a snapping sound behind me and know the el grande mesquite is getting thrashed as well. I head back out front and forget to unlock the security door but leave it open. The wind is blowing hard now, and the neighborhood is shrouded in a thin brown haze. A big gust hits and I grab the door handle just before it locks me out. (Now that would have been interesting!) There’s no thunder, no lightning. The world is a swirling, shifting, gusty brown. I check the radar and we’re surrounded on three sides by red and yellow, but outside of the wind and dust there’s nothing really happening.

Fifteen minutes later, it’s over. The storm has passed to our east and south. But the big palm tree in the southeast corner sure took a beating:

Throughout the night we’d see plenty of lightning to our north and east, but the north storms appeared to travel west above us, and the east storms traveled southeast of us. We got fifteen minutes of steady rain, so I hopped into the 94-degree pool and soaked it all in (literally) until that ended. And that was that. Across other parts of the Valley, things were much worse: that storm to the north of us that moved west ended up causing quite a bit of damage and numerous power outages in Scottsdale, north Phoenix, and then points west of that.

But that’s what typically happens around here: for some unknown reason our part of Gilbert always seems to get spared. Could be the topography, could be the vibes. Whatever. But plenty of folks got slammed in the Valley of the Sun last night – just another example of how amazing and unpredictable the monsoon season can be around these parts.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:56 | Comments (0)
July 29, 2018

Let me be blunt right out of the box: I’m not going to look back on the 2018 Goodboys Invitational fondly in any way, manner, shape or form. My game sucked, for sure. But Foxwoods Casino and Resort is not the place to go if you want to have a 12-man golf package handled smoothly when things go awry. Let me explain the circumstances before I get to the golf.

So the Goodboys had twelve players assigned to six rooms, two to a room. Unfortunately, at the last minute, one of our players was unable to make it due to a family situation so the idea was the we would reduce our package to eleven players, four staying two men to a room, the others going to a three-man suite. I thought I had had it handled pretty well until after golf on Friday when the boys started checking in and found that two of the rooms had gotten completely screwed up. More on that later.

The golf course at Foxwoods – Lake of Isles Golf Course – is by far the toughest golf course the Goodboys have ever played. A number of holes have forced carries, and all the greens are elevated and protected by bunkers so you need to have your game in gear and play smart. Right from the start, on the driving range on Friday, I knew I was completely out of sync – big swings, rushing my downswing, jumping at the ball. And I fought it for eighteen holes, coming in with a brutal 59/57=116. Which was too bad, because my partner “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis torched the course with an 88. I can’t remember too many shots from Friday that were any good; I do know I lost 16 balls over the course of the round and ended up having to buy a dozen at the pro shop after the round.

What I will always remember most about Friday is that after the golf, when the Goodboys started checking in, two groups discovered their reservations had been screwed up. Coming off the course after a difficult day, all I wanted was to have a cold Pinot Grigio and head up to my room for a hot shower; instead, I was stuck at the registration desk trying to sort out who was supposed to occupy the three-man suite and how everyone was going to be charged. Dinner that night was at 8:30 PM, but when I arrived for dinner I was told that the accommodations for the three-man suite were still all screwed up, so it was back to the registration desk.

There’s no point in going through the details. Bottom line was, after supposedly getting things straightened out, I was too agitated and stressed to even eat. I’ve got certain Goodboys questioning my judgement and the arrangements of the rooms, and I’m feeling as low as a guy can feel. It’s now 9:30 PM and I’m tired, hungry, and stressed out over everything. I can’t blame anyone but myself for feeling that way, but as with everything else this entire damned friggin’ year, it’s just one stress and issue after another and I can’t relax.

It’s Saturday morning on the putting green just prior to us all teeing off. I’m off by myself practicing my speed and tempo when I’m told that one of the teams went down to the front desk and found out they were getting charged something like $800 more than they should be. At that time there was nothing I could do about it; all I could do was promise that I’d look into it as soon as I got off the course. Call it an excuse if you want, but throughout the round I couldn’t separate out the golf from the fact that the charges on the rooms were still screwed up, and it was something that was going to have to be taken care of as soon as I got off the course.

While I played better on Saturday than I did on Friday – my ball-striking and my tempo was much improved – I never really got into a rhythm. I didn’t drive the ball consistently well and my chipping continued to be abysmal. While I struck my irons much better than I did on Friday, I never could string together shots that would enable me to make pars and bogeys. If I hit a decent drive, I couldn’t make hay with my approach shots. And while I putted OK, I was sloppy around the greens. And left to my own devices when my partner was off dealing with his own problems, my course management sucked. When you’re playing target golf you have to have a plan and stick to it. And when you get out of position, you put the ball back in play and resume your plan one stroke to the bad. I didn’t do that, and it really cost me. I finished with a 112, knowing that I’d pissed away a minimum of 12 strokes based on course management alone. My partner The Funny Guy struggled with the greens all day and finished with a 103 – 15 strokes higher than the previous day. He really could have used my help that round, and I failed him in every sense of the word.

One of my fondest memories of the weekend will always be Saturday after golf. My hope was to be able to speak with the Lake of Isles concierge to try and get the rooms and charges straightened out before everyone went to dinner, so I headed back to the clubhouse while my partner stowed all our golf gear in his trunk. I told him to give me ten minutes and then pick me up out front. I go inside only to see the concierge is closed for the day. I go back out front and wait to be picked up. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. It’s hot outside and I’m feeling worn out, sore, and grimy. I go back into the clubhouse and find myself a comfy chair amidst the dark walnut and mahogany:

There was no fire, of course, but I picked that comfy chair on the right and quickly fell asleep for what must have been ten or twenty minutes. If I had my choice I would have stayed there for, like, forever. But I found my ways downstairs where the gang were having cocktails and got the immediate sense I was the skunk appearing at the garden party. Which was OK – I grabbed myself a Pinot Grigio and kept to myself.

Dinner at The Cedars steak house on Saturday night was (at least in my mind) excellent. My Goodboys friend “Killer” Kowalski had some personal things to take care of so we separated from the pack and found some nice away time for a round at the Hard Rock Café and watched a funk / disco band that only served to remind us just how much all the music from today sucks. Come midnight, Killer was done so I answered my partner’s text and went down to join a bunch of the Goodboys in the loud and obnoxious main room at The Fox Tower casino. One thing I learned about Foxwoods – it’s about as far away from Vegas as my game is from Dustin Johnson’s. The entertainment is cheap, loud, and tawdry, and the people who flock to experience it all are perfectly matched.

On Sunday morning we awoke to the gullywasher the meteorologists had been promising for the past several days as a sub-tropical system moved its way up from the south. Calls to the planned Sunday course were made, the Goodboys all gathered around several small tables in a tiny coffee shop, and the consensus was that it wasn’t worth playing. The sun was starting to peek out, but we knew the course was going to be sloppy and wet, and with the possibility of downpours in the afternoon no one had the enthusiasm to get after it. Instead, “Skeeta” Clark and “Goose” Dwyer were named winners (see above right), and a bunch of us headed back to the Lake of Isles golf course for breakfast and to watch the final round of the Open Championship. In my mind, it was the best time of the entire weekend: food to match the camaraderie, a few laughs, and, most importantly, relief (at least in my mind) that it was all over.

Two days after Goodboys Invitational weekend, two of the Goodboys in the above pic, “Hulkigan” Tripp and “Mothra” Nolan (fourth and fifth from the left) handed in their resignations. Which is OK – Goodboys come and Goodboys go. The years go on and the Goodboys Invitational endures. But after this year’s weekend, count this Goodboy tired, burned out, and stressed out. Even with all the practice I’d put in, the Lake of Isles course was far too difficult for what my golf game is capable of, the billing and reservation system at Foxwoods too incompetent, and the entire weekend a fiasco. Looking back, the idea of Foxwoods might have been a good one, but Goodboys Invitational weekend should be one where you can relax, play some golf, and get away from the stresses of lives. Having to carry something akin to 180 yards four times during a round and have to think about every friggin’ shot you have to make is not my idea of a weekend getaway. If that’s the way it’s gonna be from here on out, then count me out.

Of course, the whole weekend is still too raw and fresh in my mind. In another month, my dad will be set up in his new digs, everyone here in the Valley of the Sun will be looking forward to the onset of Arizona winter in October, and I’ll reacquaint myself with my clubs. I’m planning on scheduling a short game lesson with my swing coach Alex Black because I’m tired of throwing away strokes around the green and having everything I try work for a round or two and then go all kaplooey. My MyScorecard.com handicap now stands at a whopping 27.2, and I remain committed to getting it down to a 20.

For now I’m just glad that the 2018 Goodboys Invitational is in the books. What a let-down.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 23:07 | Comment (1)
July 28, 2018

We’re heading back into a monsoon-y pattern here in the Valley of the Sun. A few thoughts while I try to put together my Goodboys Invitational recap:

Remembering King Curtis, sax player extraordinaire. I remember his performances on John Lennon’s Imagine album on “It’s So Hard” and “I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier, I Don’t Wanna Die”, the latter also featuring a Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production and some cool droning slide guitar by George Harrison.

Why are liberals so keen on limiting something as fundamental to American freedom as speech? Because they’re fascists at heart, that’s why. And God forbid if you disagree with them in any way – they’ll crawl right down your throat. But what do I know? After all, I’ve been told that I’m an intellectual guy…

Not sure why they’re coming to the game now – the Obama administration was separating families long before ICE was doing it under President Trump’s administration – but good for United Airlines. I always like to see private companies stepping up to do the right thing. But I can’t help but wonder why United wouldn’t provide the same kind of outreach to bring young families separated by parents serving in the military together?

Reading this, I hope the Trump administration comes down in favor of eliminating electronic machines from federal elections and go back to paper. Sure, there will always be opportunities for shenanigans even with paper ballots, but nothing compared to the level of mischief that can occur with electronic machines.

Well, duh!

Because it’s worked so well historically, right? If it were, why on earth would a country as oil-rich as Venezuela be an economic basket-case, and why would folks from Central America be flooding Mexico’s southern border to get to the U.S.? But that’s OK, the Democrats have economic geniuses to tell us otherwise.

To read the beat writers and opinion writers in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald obsess over the relationship between quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick is to understand why people have come to hate the media so much. The team has been incredibly successful, Belichick is all about winning and has the track record to prove it, and Brady is, arguably, the greatest quarterback of all time. So why not focus on that instead of ginning up off-field controversies that aren’t there? If at some point it all starts to go sour, then perhaps it would be time to explore why that is. But to constantly be looking for ghosts that don’t exist and blow up inconsequential side issues into controversies of epic proportions is to reduce their coverage of the Pats to caricature and sophomoric so-called “journalism”.

Congratulations to President Donald Trump on a great week. When even CNN is admitting Trump has had a great week you know you’re doing something right. Now, back to your regularly-scheduled programming and that meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower….

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:41 | Comments (0)
July 26, 2018

I’m sure you folks had started wondering whether this blog had turned into something sponsored by a Canadian pharmaceuticals company or something, considering the amount of junk posts that have appeared over the past several months. Actually, after looking into things a little more deeply, this had been going on since the beginning of the year (albeit in less of a scope than it had been lately). No one likes to get texts while you’re prepping for Goodboys Invitational weekend saying, “dude, your blog has been hacked again”. So, with the help of the good folks at Dreamhost we were able to nail down that some entity had hijacked a former user and occasional author on this site and used it to post their crap. Hopefully, by disabling that user’s account they won’t be able to sabotage things like they had been doing.

Since I’m here, I’ll leave the Goodboys Invitational weekend update to my next post. The good news is, is that le affaire “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” is over. Finished. Kaput. Sure, there’s some minor lingering stuff that one would expect after such a long and arduous journey, but for all intents and purposes it is ovah. How do I know? I left the laptop at my father’s apartment for the better part of four – count ’em, four! – days over GB weekend and never got called. Now that’s saying something! The psychological scars remain, of course (my relationship with my boss and my company will never, ever be the same), but that’s just the way it goes.

The big news is that I got my dad into what appears to be some real nice senior living digs. A lovely community in the next town over where the only thing he’ll have to pay for is some basic internet access and some rental insurance for his studio apartment. It gets him away from the all the obligations, isolation, and ghosts associated with the apartment he had shared with my mom for the better part of fifteen years. He can give up his car and having to worry about going to restaurants and the supermarket for his next meal, and he’ll be surrounded by a bunch of folks his age in a positive and welcoming setting.

I won’t lie to y’all – this is going to take a load of pressure and worry off of me and my brother, who have only wanted the best for him all along. After all, at 89 and in pretty good health (at least at this moment!) he deserves to have a little less worry about living alone. But with me in Arizona and Dave in Georgia, it’s been hard not to worry about him from the moment of waking to that of sleeping. Now, he’ll be a part of a community where he won’t feel so alone. And between the end of “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” and this, the ongoing nightmare that has been 2018 might actually give me a bit of a break. All you folks who have had to worry about and take care of your parents know what I’m talking about – you want only the best for them, but the stress is difficult, especially when you’re thousands of miles away.

Of course, we’re not there yet – my dad’s move is in three weeks and there is lots to take care of before that. I’m exhausted, both mentally and physically. I wasn’t at my best during Goodboys weekend, and I triggered easily over the smallest amount of stress. But that’s where my mind and body is right now. As coach Bill Belichick would say, “it is what it is.”. All I can say is, my planned Vegas weekend in early December is an oasis shimmering on the distantr horizon. I don’t know if it’s real or not, and I don’t know if I’ll even get there, but it would sure be nice to look back on this year, tip a glass of Veuve Cliquot, and say, “dude, you made it.”

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:36 | Comments (0)
July 20, 2018

Sitting here in the business center at Foxwoods Casino and Resort. The Goodboys are starting to arrive from parts north, south, and east, and the first two days look to be great here. Sunday, unfortunately, is looking like a washout. Not much else to say at this point, will have a round-up at the end of the weekend, whatever day that might be.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 07:31 | Comments (0)
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)

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