August 30, 2018

A few thoughts while contemplating the first hints of a change of season coning to the Valley of the Sun…

Back east, you can tell the seasons are changing by the cool mornings, the moisture all over your car windows, and the looks of the trees, heavy with August humidity, the weaker ones already showing the first signs of color, the goldenrod and purple lustrife along the highways and swampy areas. Out here? It’s the fact that to get cool water out of the tap you only have to wait ten seconds instead of thirty. The pool has already begun its retreat from its high of 95 degrees – even in the late afternoon of a 105-degree day the best it could manage was 89. The nights have dropped to the low 80s, so there’s no going back.

It never ceases to amaze me at the chutzpah the media has in deciding what political opinions people ought to have based on their skin color. Consider the manufactured outrage at Tiger Woods’ recent comments about President Trump:

“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said. “We’ve played golf together. We’ve had dinner together. I’ve known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”

When asked what he would say to immigrants and others who felt threatened by the president’s policy agenda, Woods tried to remain diplomatic in his response, calling for respect for the office but not for the man himself.

“He’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

He’s right, of course: you don’t have to like or respect the occupant of the White House, but you still should respect the office. Speaking personally, I was never fond of Barack Obama or his taxpayer-mooching wife while they occupied the White House, but he was still my president. As a country, he was our president. Heck, were I to have had the opportunity to visit ol’ Barack and Mooch in the White House, of course I would have gone. Probably would have even asked to have had a selfie taken with them for the occasion, too.

But nooooooooo, with President Trump you have no right to either like Trump or even respect the office he was legitimately voted into two years ago. Most especially, if you’re a – gasp! – man of color. ESPN’s “Moron Max” Kellerman, who can’t even talk intelligently about sports to begin with, viciously attacked Tiger. And then the piling on began. Yahoo! Sports, of course, defended Kellerman’s comments and threw a few barbs of their own in, to boot. And now you have Christine Brennan at USA Today, doing the same thing:

“Tiger Woods — a man of color, obviously, and a truly historic cultural figure from the very end of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century — answered a question about race relations by saying he was ‘really hungry.’ Tiger probably doesn’t care. History, however, most likely will.”

What, exactly, are you saying here, Christine? That “History” will actually care about what arguably the best golfer in history has to say about Donald Trump? As if hundreds of millions of people will die because of Tiger’s comments? Or that the course of “History” will be irrevocably changed because of his comments? Last I checked, all Tiger Woods ever was, was a golfer – a very good one, for sure, but in the grand scheme of things, no more, no less. And, frankly, I don’t think Tiger Woods cares how “History” will judge him beyond (I’m guessing) the son he was to his father and the father he is to his children. And that’s it. And for a so-called “journalist” like you, Christine Brennan – someone who apparently has the IQ of an ostrich – to see yourself as someone worthy of passing that kind of judgment on another human being, let alone Tiger Woods, someone who has and will influence millions more people than anything you will ever write, shows just how shallow, self-important, and ignorant you are.

But that’s the media these days. They have no sense of perspective, no sense of moderation in anything having to do with Donald Trump. Which is why they have killed journalism forever. No one cares what they’re saying anymore because every day it’s just one faux outrage after another. They think everything they say has importance, but they’re all just living in their own little cozy echo chambers, preaching to their own choirs while an increasing part of the country has learned to tune them out.

Yep, that’s the real John McCain, ol’ Maverick, keeping it classy beyond the grave. ‘Nuff said.

I read today’s latest faux outrage from the mainstream media and my thoughts echo Bill Mitchell’s:

Black people are not monkeys. They are humans, created in God’s image. Why then is the left triggered every time the word ‘monkey’ is used within 100 yards of a black person, unless of course the left immediately thinks of black people as monkeys?

Only dogs hear dog whistles.

As he says, only dogs hear dog whistles.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 04:33 | Comments (0)
August 28, 2018

Yes, I’m going to go there, so if any of y’all snowflakes can’t stand the idea of someone breaking with the elitist mainstream media slob-fest over Arizona’s beloved so-called “Maverick”, you can stop reading right here.

First, let me state that sincere condolences go out to Senator McCain’s family. He was diagnosed with an awful disease that had to have broken the hearts of those whom he loved and loved him in return. No one wishes cancer on anyone, and the fact that he hung on as long as he did must have been both heart-breaking and heart-warming to his family and loved ones at the very same time. He is commended to have put up the brave fight for as long as he did, and he is to be commended for it.

That being said, enough with the over-the-top, fawning and slobbering over the Senator’s passing by the mainstream media. The fact is, they hated him during his run for the presidency against Saint Barack Obama and did everything they could to paint “Maverick” and his campaign in a negative light. You can look up the stories yourselves: he was a warmonger, a lover of conservative causes, he rolled over to conservatives who pushed back against his (and others) attempt at “comprehensive immigration reform” (a.k.a., full amnesty for illegal aliens) when that couldn’t get passed, and he was ridiculed for suspending his campaign when the stock market crash happened. And who can forget the barbs and ridicule he received after choosing Sarah Palin as his VP?

After all, when you get Democratic socialists – of all people – praising Senator McCain at his passing, you know something is up. I’ll at least give these clowns credit: at least their true to their values.

Can we all be honest here? The only – and I mean the only reason the media has its hankies out in droves over Maverick’s passing is – you guessed it – the disdain he felt for President Trump. In that regard, Maverick’s legacy and the mainstream media are two peas in a pod. They both hated and hate Donald Trump in a visceral way, and the fact that Maverick got the last word in on his feud with President Trump only cemented the media’s commitment to making sure that – and in the spirit of his buddy Ted Kennedy, his supposed “happy warrior” legacy (which, BTW, is nothing but bullshit) – would be the focus of their non-stop coverage.

The fact is, the only thing John McCain loved more than being a six-term senator with all the perks and privileges that went along with it was the camera. It was the media and their cameras and coverage that moved him, not some underlying personal and political philosophy. Whatever and wherever got him the most publicity, that’s where he and his so-called “maverick” philosophy went. You want proof? In his last campaign, he made repeal and replace of Obamacare the focal point of his campaign. Yet, when the time came to cast the deciding vote, it was out of spite to Donald Trump that he voted against said repeal and replace.

And, oh by the way, that was the last time he represented Arizona voters in the Senate. Rather than doing the honorable thing and step aside, he chose to hang on to the bitter end. Why? Because that would mean sailing off and out of the limelight. And being out of the limelight is something Maverick would never allow to happen.

I’ll leave John McCain’s military and political career to others to honor and evaluate. All I’m saying is the mainstream media’s deification and overblown coverage of the senator’s passing is nothing more than their way of gleefully attacking Donald Trump. They despised Senator McCain when he ran for president and bashed him whenever his political whims diverged from theirs, but they sure do love him now and mourn his passing because of their shared hatred of President Trump.

John McCain loved the media spotlight. And in his death the media is now giving him what he always sought above all else.

And in that odd, symbiotic way, I think they kind of deserve each other.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:30 | Comments (0)
August 27, 2018

…so the big move from my Dad’s old digs at Parlmont Park to his new digs at Summer Place went off without a hitch. Everyone did their part, the movers worked cheerfully and efficiently, everything ended up being moved, tossed in the dumpster, or given away to folks in the old complex who needed them, and I’m back home from Massachusetts. The last few nights spent sleeping in a bed in an otherwise vacant apartment wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences – lots of ghosts haunted my sleep – but it was one of those things ya just gotta do if it means bringing everything to a proper and rightful conclusion.

My Dad’s new place looks great, and he couldn’t be happier. All the final decisions we made together, as far as bringing furniture along that was originally going to be left behind, were all the right ones. And networking with a bunch of Parlmont folks helped get the word out so that some of the nicer pieces left behind would find a good home. And props to Comcast Xfinity: hooking Dad’s phone and internet up was a breeze.

The end came Sunday morning when I brought the last of the trash out, put a few of Dad’s remaining items in a box, and left the apartment unlocked for what promises to be a fully refurbishment of the place. I didn’t realize just how sad and dingy the place had become, but that’s what happens when the last five years are spent with elderly people getting sick and unable to keep up with the place they originally moved into a dozen years earlier.

All that’s left for Dad is to give up his car – something we hope is going to happen tomorrow. That hasn’t gone as smoothly as we would like, but there are too many players involved to corral into the same, single fluid action the move involved.

It was while sitting alone by a solitary lamp in the otherwise empty apartment on Saturday night that I decided the time had come. Goodboys Exec-Comm are proposing to have next year’s 29th annual Invitational down at Myrtle Beach where 1/2 EC “Skeeta” Clark now calls home, and sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio and looking around at the empty apartment and feeling alone and old and remembering all the good times that were had in the apartment with my Mom and Dad and Auntie Marge and Uncle Don playing cards on Saturday nights, I decided that was it. If the ‘Boys wanted to have their 29th down at MB they would have to do it without me. I’m tired, worn out, traveled out, “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”-ed out, and golfed out, and I just don’t feel like doing it anymore. The last two Goodboys weekends have had a different vibe than they used to – after all these years, how could they not? – and I figured that maybe it was time to call it a day.

I remember a conversation I had with my Auntie Marge something like five years ago. The large Easter Sunday family gatherings at the old Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus had become a thing of the past, and you could see the writing on the wall. So I called her up and proposed that the family do the Hilltop one last time, with as many family members as we could muster, and end our precious tradition not on Father Time’s terms, but our own. And that’s what we did. Sure, the food and service were a mere shadow of its former self, but we gathered nonetheless, toasted the old times and those departed, and ended it on our terms. And, as it turned out, pretty much in the nick of time.

And maybe that’s what I’m thinking the Goodboys ought to do. Next year is 29, maybe we do it just as we’ve always done, then reserve something like Myrtle Beach for a final blow-out 30th anniversary extravaganza and call it a tradition on our terms. I might be up for that. Some of the ‘Boys might say, “Oh Great White Shank, you’re just a kid at 62, stop acting like and old fart and act young.” I’m sorry, that’s just not where I am right now. The last few years have really taken a toll on me and I’m just beat, both mentally and physically. I’m sure work, and the hours I’ve had to work this year and all the stress that has come with TCWSRN and worrying about and coordinating my Dad’s move, but “it is what it is”. I’ll be ready, willing, and able to shed a few pounds and get back to the gym in a week or two, but I’m fried. The world is spinning too fast and I need to slow down and catch a breath.

So if the Goodboys want to go to Myrtle Beach and start a new era without me, I’m good with that – there will be no tears. Likewise, if they want to stay in New England next summer I’ll be more than happy to join them – I’ll coordinate my visits to see Dad around it. But I think it kinda says something in that I no longer care either way. These days, I’d rather go to Vegas, baby. Everything has its own time in the sun, everything – and everyone – runs its course. Parlmont Park did, my Mom did, Auntie Marge did. I look at the place my Dad is now living and I see my own future, and it ain’t that far away, relatively speaking. That kind of frightens me. But in the end, it will all end as it will end. Hopefully well, but if not there’s not a whole lot one can do.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:08 | Comments (0)
August 22, 2018

It’s the mid-point of my Massachusetts visit to transition my dad to his new digs up the street at the nice senior living facility in Chelmsford and everything is going pretty much according to plan. Even though Dad’s present life and world isn’t a large and complicated one, there has still been a lot to coordinate and make preparation for ahead of the big move.

Last Friday we spent the morning dropping his car of at the car place for the final repairs needed before it gets turned in to the Volkswagen folks next week in order to end of car ownership and driving – something I’m sure his fellow Massachusetts motorists will approve of. The afternoon was taken up making all the necessary calls and paperwork needed to redirect his monthly pension, social security, and annuity payouts to his new checking account.

Last Saturday, my brother Dave and I cleared out the storage bin in the attic and bringing a bunch of stuff to the church consignment store. We then went over to the new apartment with a tape measure in order to finalize the furniture placement, then picked up some new items he will need at a local K Mart that had only three other people shopping in it. Very strange to see a department store such a shell of its former self.

Sunday was a well-deserved day of rest, a day for family stuff and planning the next day’s activities out. We met an old friend of his from high school and learned that the very first girl I fell in love with back when I was fifteen, a lovely, quiet, long-haired girl whom I would ride my bike over to visit in the hope that I’d see her was now thrice-married and a sociopath. That night, talking over a bowl of ice cream, I noticed for the first tine the apartment had a bit of an echo in it.

Monday was a busy day. I coordinated the shut off of his electricity at the old place, then transitioned Dad’s active checking account to his new one in preparation for auto-pay at his new place, then Dad and I brought some smaller stuff over to the new apartment. Calling around to places that took furniture donations, we determined that the living room couch and coffee table, and the guest bedroom set weren’t going to make the cut. The fates of the couch and table would have to wait until the end of the week; the bed (my grandparents old set) destined for the construction dumpster. I took one of the living room bookcases out and placed it in front of the dumpster. It was gone two hours later. My friend Paul agreed to take all my Dad’s plants from his back porch. Talking over a late-night bowl of ice cream, we added my Mon’s lay-z-boy chair to the moving list, thus eliminating the need to look around for a gently-used two-person couch. The master moving list was again updated.

On Tuesday Dad and I brought more stuff over to the new place. We confirmed with the auto place his car would be completed and ready for inspection by the end of the week. We coordinated the transition of his phone and internet over to the new place. Over a late-night bowl of ice cream, we added the long table in the living room to the master moving list, figuring it would serve a nice role in the kitchen entry way for his hat, keys, meds, and what-not. The master moving list was again updated.

Today my nephew will be coming to pick up the kitchen table and chairs.

Thursday is moving day, getting everything being taken to the new apartment out and getting it set up comfortably for him.

Friday will be a big day: hopefully, the car will be ready and we’ll pick it up. That will take a big load off of Dad’s mind – he really wants to get the car and the responsibilities that go along with it out of his life. This will be the day to take stock at what’s left in the old place. He has it until the end of the month, so there will still be time for people to come by and take whatever we’ve left behind. The lady at the office will help me figure out what to do with the rest of the stuff – it’s not like they haven’t dealt with this kind of thing before. Anything still needing to go over to the new place will go, and the old Comcast equipment will be dropped off.

On Saturday I’ll bring his plants over to my friend Paul’s place and turn in the old apartment keys.

By the time Sunday comes I’m hoping to be heading back to Phoenix, leaving the final car inspection and turning it in to both he and my sister-in-law. Dad’s transition to his new life will then be complete.

Overall, things so far have gone fairly smoothly, and it hasn’t been as emotionally taxing as I thought it would be. I don’t feel the sense of any ghosts holding us back: Dad is genuinely excited about the move and getting rid of his car. In talking with folks who have gone through this kind of thing before, this is not always the case. We’re lucky in that regard. I look around this place and think about all the memories and the folks who have lived here and visited here over the past fifteen years and realize it’s time for everyone to move on. It’s time. The place desperately needs an overhaul and an upgrade, and Dad is in a good place both mentally and physically. I know my Mom would surely approve.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 06:12 | Comments (0)
August 17, 2018

…so there I was, making the familiar late-night drive to the Phoenix airport via the airport shuttle, upon which I would enter Terminal 3 and walk the same route past the JetBlue counter and up the escalators to the security checkpoint, then down the ramp to the Mexican restaurant for a glass or two of Pinot Grigio and an order of hot wings served by the same bartenders who have been there for as long as I can remember. We’re not on a first name basis – although we certainly could be, given all the visits I’ve made over the years back home to Massachusetts – at least 4 times a year, sometimes more.

The driver and I are exchanging small talk, primarily about all the changes going on and their rapidity, so much so it almost makes one’s head spin. The driver tells me the late-night work has slowed to a crawl – so much so that he could envision the late-night shuttle service stopping altogether in the next year or two.

I know what he’s talking about: there was a time when any time I’d be picked up at my house for an airport trip you’d see the van if not completely full, then certainly occupied from prior stops, or, we’d then wander around the East Valley for a stop or two to pick up other passengers before heading straight to the airport. The last several times, if it hasn’t been just me, it’s been only another passenger traveling with me.

“Our former passengers are all using Lyft or Uber to take them.”, explains the driver, smooth jazz playing softly in the background over the A/C. “It’s no more expensive, and they don’t have to share a ride with strangers or take anymore time than they absolutely have to. It’s not good for me personally, but there’s nothing good or bad about it, it’s just the way it is.”

Upon my arrival at the airport, Terminal 3 is a mish-mash of construction and unfamiliar routes taken folks all over the place to avoid it. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful when it is all completed next year, but as I find out after exchanging pleasantries with the bartender and having my double Pinot placed in front of me without me having to ask, this is probably the last time I’ll be eating here. I ask about the construction and what they’re going to do once the work hits this particular area of the terminal. “They’re closing us up, probably in the next six weeks”, she says. “We’re all going to be reassigned to other new places they’re building as we speak. Me? I’m hoping to get into the San Tan Brewery that’s s’posed to open before he holidays.”

“No more Mexican joint?”, I ask. “No more hot wings? No more forty steps to Gate 26 with the men’s room on left for a quick whiz before having to board?”

She nods. “They’re going to be moving the gates and this area of the terminal will go bye-bye.”

I sit there quietly contemplating things. Everything seems to be drifting away from me, like a castle in the sand against an onrushing tide of events that you can’t stop. I’m heading back to Massachusetts to help my dad move out of the familiar two-bedroom apartment he and my mom had shared for a dozen-plus years before she passed away more than two years ago. Dad doesn’t need all the space anymore, and we’ve found him some wonderful new digs in a senior living place the next town over. I’m also going to help him turn in his car; he doesn’t really like driving anymore, and with the shuttle service at the senior living place he isn’t going to need one anymore. It’s win-win for everyone, and he’ll thrive in the social environment he’ll be in. No more isolation, no more us worrying about whether he’s doing OK.

At least for now.

As I think about it, I realize this is probably the last time I’ll be going back to Massachusetts for any kind of extended stay. My parents had the extra bedroom which made it a cheap trip; now with dad having a studio apartment I’m going to have to find my own place to stay, and pay for it. The senior living place has a guesthouse for $50 a night which is nice, and there’s a Best Western down the street that’s more expensive, which is nice also, but neither arrangement lends itself for more than, say, long weekend visits.

Everything is changing. Even the Goodboys Invitational weekend this past July was the second year in a row where it rally didn’t have the same feel it used to have. With all the issues with he hotel and stuff, it really wasn’t a whole lot of fun. We’re all getting older and more set in our ways, and after 28 years you wonder how much longer it’s all worth doing.

I miss the way things used to be: the full shuttles with folks excitedly talking about their upcoming trips. The wine and the wings at the Mexican joint as I looked forward to seeing my mom and dad, knowing how happy Mom would be to see me as I walked into their happy and familiar apartment, it looking the same as it did the last time I visited. Everything seemed so alive, so happy, so routine, so worry-free. I know I never took it for granted – I would tell myself constantly that things some day would change and be sure to embrace the joy and familiarity of it, but you still knew in the back of your mind it all had to end eventually, didn’t it? But that would be living fatalistically and cynically, and that’s no way to go through life.

But here it is: August 2016, and I’m going to help my dad with his move to a new phase of his life. And with it, we’ll be cutting away pieces of the past, never to be experienced again. Pieces of long-held happy and familiar memories given away or tossed into the dumpster. And I’ll be helping him do it.

Nothing lasts forever. All things must pass. And as it does, it hits you like a hammer that the things that are passing away aren’t just happening to other people – shuttle drivers, strangers in the van, bartenders at an airport Mexican joint, they’re happening to you as well, and there will come a point when those changes come closer to you than you’re comfortable with. And I’m not sure just how capable I am at dealing with that kind of realization.

Things are moving way too quickly for this old Great White Shank. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

Just ride the waves while you still have the ability to try and enjoy the ride. Because before you know it, that ride will end as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 05:21 | Comments (0)
August 15, 2018

It feels more like back to summer tonight on the back patio as the heat has returned. Last night had almost a feeling of early fall, as the temperatures dropped into the low 80s and today it only got up to 98. I know what you’re thinking, but around here that’s what we call early fall. Heck, the pool temperature dropped five degrees over the past couple of days, to a lovely and refreshing 88 degrees. Don’t think that will last too long, though… this iteration of the monsoon will die out after tomorrow and the next ten days will see a return to bright sunshine and temps around the 105-110 mark.

Me? I’ll be back in Massachusetts helping my dad move out of the apartment he and my mom shared for fifteen years and into some lovely senior living digs the next town over. It’s a big change for him – at 89 he’s also decided to turn in his car and give up driving. Which is probably best for everyone, including him. It’s not like he’s going to need a car anyways, the place he’s going provides practically everything he’ll need in terms of living arrangement – meals, laundry, trips to the supermarket, occasional road trips, and, most importantly, a social life with the other folks living there. I think my mom would be proud at the new arrangement and how he’s willingly accepted it as the next phase in his life. I know I’m proud of him.

But there’s a lot of work to do: he’s going from a two-bedroom apartment to a studio, and there’s a lot of stuff to get rid of and things to coordinate. There is the usual stuff involved whenever there’s a change of address, but also bank accounts to consolidate, and the usual coordination between movers, getting rid of stuff, and the moving out and moving in. I hope to be checking in from time to time while I’m back there.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:26 | Comments (0)
August 13, 2018

That was a pretty entertaining Sunday at the PGA Championship, and it was probably the most exciting final round of a major this year. A few thoughts to close out this season’s majors:

Is there any doubt that Brooks Koepka is a killer, a true product of golf’s modern age? Not only can he hit it far, he can hit it straight. You see his performances at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock and the PGA at Bellerive, and you have to wonder when folks are going to start giving him his due. Dustin Johnson may be rated as the #1 golfer in the world rankings at the present time, but if given a choice between DJ and Brooks, my money would have to be on the latter.

For one thing, DJ always seems to be able to trample the field at any given PGA Tour event whenever he’s in the mood – there’s no underestimating his talent. But he seems to lack the discipline and killer instinct to put it all together at majors. DJ is the personification of today’s professional golfer. He can hit it a country mile and he makes boatloads of cash. But you can’t help but wonder if that’s really all he’s about.

Koepka, on the other hand, is a steely-eyed version of the Old West gunman who comes into town, chip on his shoulder, looking for respect as a gunslinger. He’s got DJ’s length, but he seems able to discipline himself at the majors to handle the pressure that results from hitting it so long that you ought to be able to rack up birdies when the opportunities present themselves.

And it was amazing to watch he and Adam Scott, just two groups back from the Tiger Woods circus, fire away at pins tucked only yards from the edge. Both of them were virtually unflappable, and it was a marvel to watch them both handle the pressure of the last round of a major, especially with a charging Tiger in front of them.

He made some mistakes down the stretch, but there is little doubt that Justin Thomas is going to be collecting his own share of majors over the next few years. He’s got a beautiful swing and a game you just can’t help but love to watch. He’s almost as fearless as Koepka, but you could tell he got a little rattled at the pace of play when his playing partner Shane Lowry ran into difficulties on (I think) #14. Thomas, like Koepka, likes to get up there and hit the ball – a quality to be admired. But Thomas is still learning his craft and he ought to be a force over the next decade.

I wonder what’s wrong with Rory McIlroy? Not sure if it’s physical or mental, but he’s not the same golfer he was several years ago. Maybe he should have married Caroline Wozniacki after all.

Ditto Rickie Fowler. No one doubts the guy has game, but is what he has good enough to win a major? A big question that’s only going to get bigger with every major he doesn’t win.

I think Jordan Spieth is going to look back on this year as a growing year and an important one in his career. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him pick up at least two majors next year.

Which, of course, makes Tiger Woods’s opportunities to win another major all the more daunting. Sure, he showed an incredible amount of grit out there yesterday, but if you don’t win, who cares? He’s back to grinding with the best of them. And his irons were pure, no doubt about it. But he really doesn’t drive the ball well, and his putting is just OK. There were six putts yesterday that the old Tiger would have made without any problem. But that’s what being 42 years old will do to ya. The difference in your putting might be hundredths of a second here or there, but it’s that hundredth of a second that will result in a putt left just short or one to lip out.

And Tiger is going to be facing some incredible competition in the years he has left. Hard to believe, but as good as they are, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are still learning the ropes of playing professional golf at the highest level. They’re only going to get better. You’ve got Koepka and DJ and others who just aren’t going to be intimidated by Tiger, even when he’s putting on one of his legendary charges. They respect him, for sure, but unlike his peers of 10+ years ago, these players look forward to the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with him. They relish the attention, they welcome the crowds and the attention, and they just itching to go mano a mano down the stretch of a major. As I mentioned in my last post, as long as he stays healthy (and there’s no guarantee on that) Tiger’s gonna win some tournaments. But majors? I think he’s going to find that very difficult.

One final comment about Tiger: everyone is all kissy-ass about his comeback and slobbering over his play as it has evolved over these past few months. I get it, his comeback is a great story. But they’re all placing Tiger in the same bubble he was during his prime more than ten years ago. The guy is 42, and given his history of injury, he’s an old 42. No one I heard this week expressed anything like a cautionary note that what we’re seeing now is the twilight of Tiger’s career. They’re acting as if he’s capable of dominating like he used to, and that’s just not going to be the case. I agree he’s making a great run and that it’s fun to watch, but he’s one Achilles tendon, disc, or knee issue from saying riding off into the sunset for good. And I can see it happening: he gets revved up and starts making those big, violent swings. A little dose of reality from the media in Tiger’s case wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 21:41 | Comments (0)
August 11, 2018

Look, I get the interest in Tiger Woods’s comeback, but the coverage this week on Golf Channel has been nauseating to the point of insanity. It’s one thing to speculate on how he might perform during the weekend and cover it during the tournament. It’s another thing entirely to drop his name into every friggin’ discussion they’re having. A discussion about grasses? Rich Lerner has to drop a line about how Tiger played on that grass back in 2002. There’s a chance for rain? Brandel Chamblee (who, BTW, has turned into the biggest Tiger suck-up on the channel) will recall Tiger playing in the rain at Sodapop Valley back in god-knows-when. Adam Scott being rated 76th in the world? Frank Nobilo has to mention Tiger was rated 76th in the work on May 5th, 1997. My god, you would think he was the only golfer capable to hitting an iron from 127 yards out to seven feet. I’m sure that’s never been done before.

I get the fact that they’re trying to lure in the casually-interested viewer, but there are lots of golf fans who are interested in the tournament and the field in total. And (at least for me) that makes the viewing less than satisfying.

I don’t care that he’s only four strokes back. It’s fairly clear (although not 100% obvious at this point) that Woods will go another year without winning a major, making it ten – ten! – years since his last major win at the 2008 U.S. Open. Ten years. Like, a decade. It’s so hard to fathom – if someone had said in June 2008 that Tiger Woods would go at least ten years without winning a major they would have been laughed off the face of the earth. I still can’t believe it myself.

I happen to think Tiger has one, perhaps two more majors in him, but that’s not altogether certain, for sure. As I’ve said before, Golf Channel and the other sports outlets slobber over all the great shots he’s making out there, but they don’t show the putts he’s missing, the drives in the rough, the grinding his 43-year old body has to do week in, week out. It’s probably harsh to call him an ordinary PGA Tour professional at this stage in his career, but he’s certainly no better than an above average golfer. Of course, he’s got too much talent and expertise in his DNA not to play well whenever he is healthy – something he appears to be for the first time in a long time – but the level of golf he is playing just doesn’t equate to the amount of ass-kissing and non-stop coverage he’s getting. You want to focus attention on Tiger Woods? Do it from the angle of his age and the competition he is facing out there. These “young guns” may respect Tiger, but they don’t fear him. And they can hit the ball further and more consistently than he can.

One final thought: it’s ironic that the kind of modern-age, blast it off the tee as hard and as far as you can golf as played by the Dustin Johnsons, Justin Thomases and Brooks Koepkas of the world – the kind of golf that Tiger has to excel at in order to pass Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors is the same kind of golf Tiger himself introduced nearly two decades ago. In that regard, he’s become a victim of his own success. The fact that Tiger is playing as well as he is at this point in the year is something to celebrate; certainly no one could have expected this back in January. But enough already with the saturation coverage. After a while you just get sick of it.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 20:36 | Comments (0)
August 10, 2018

So it’s August. Any other year, I’d be paying attention to the smaller things in life: the fact that the local Fry’s is already starting to carry Sam Adams Octoberfest – an insane piece of marketing when the daily temperatures here in the Valley of the Sun are still well over 100 degrees. We have the monsoon which comes and goes, and boy did it come Thursday night, dropping over two inches of rain on us and taking all the dust out of the air from the dust storm we had had on Wednesday night and seemingly dropping it all into the swimming pool. I’ll be having to do a backwash for the second time in a week this weekend.

This year, I’ve got a lot of things going on. Work and “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” is back in the picture, the calls from senior execs and the usual dick-heads I thought I had gotten rid of for good all back in the picture. Next week we begin the move of my dad to senior living and the emptying out of the apartment he and my mom shared for fifteen years (how could the time have flown so fast!). He’s also giving up driving, so the turning in of his car needs to be taken care of as well. I’ll be back in Massachusetts in a week’s time with a lot of things to do, and I’m sure it will be both stressful and emotional. Just like this entire year has been. I guess I don’t have as big shoulders as I thought I once did. Maybe that’s something that comes with age. But I’m beyond fried.

Still, the other night I was poking around on YouTube, and as is custom this time of year – for whatever reason – my musical tastes begin to run towards classical music and the music of Gordon Lightfoot. In my view, he’ll never make a better album than 1975’s Cold On The Shoulder, but his 1978 album Endless Wire is a particular favorite, as it brings back all kinds of memories associated with my breaking free as a young adult and getting my first apartment. Two songs on that album in particular stick out as far as quality goes: “Daylight Katy”, which was a minor hit for Gord on the AM radio at that time, and “The Circle Is Small”, a song about infidelity that, for whatever reason, is one of my so-called “life songs”. Maybe because it’s so intensely personal. Maybe because I just love to sing the low harmony in the chorus whenever I hear it. And the lyrics? Well, all I can say is they’re words virtually anyone who has been in the whirlwind of an intense, life-changing relationship that is ending can understand:

It’s alright for some, but not alright for me
When the one that I’m lovin’ slips around
You think it’s fine to do things I cannot see
And you’re doin’ it to me, baby, can’t you see
That I know how it is?

I can see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you kiss my lips
I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this
I can see what you believe in when his name is mentioned and I die
I can watch the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you close your eyes

It’s alright for some, but not alright to be
Where the one that I’m lovin’ can’t be found
The city where we live, might be quite large
But the circle is small, why not tell us all, and then all of us will know?

I can see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you kiss my lips
I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this
I can see what you believe in when his name is mentioned and I die
I can watch the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you close your eyes

It’s alright to leave, but not alright to lie
When you come home and you can’t say where you’ve been
You think it’s fine to do, things I cannot see
And you’re doin’ it to me, baby, can’t you see, that I know how it is?

I can see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you kiss my lips
I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this
I can see what you believe in when his name is mentioned and I die
I can watch the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you close your eyes

I can see it in your eyes and feel it in the way you kiss my lips
I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this
I can see what you believe in when his name is mentioned and I die…

The song is especially personal for me because I used a portion of those lyrics on a phone call with my girlfriend at the time after I found out she had been cheating on me. I thought telling her, “I can feel it in my way you kiss my lips. I can hear it in your voice whenever we are talking like this…” were far more artful than the words “Screw you, you bitch!”, because I think I still really loved her at the time. She swore at me and hung up the phone, and that was pretty much that.

So much for art.

Anyways, I think it’s a great song, one of Gord’s best, and one I can listen to over and over again and never get tired of it.

Actually, I’m not sure what the whole purpose of this post is, but that’s sometimes the way blogging goes…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:42 | Comments (0)
August 5, 2018

A few thoughts and comments as summer begins its transition into that soft, sentimental time I used to know as “late summer”:

This must be sweet news to the likes of Pastor Darrell Scott, Kanye West, and Candace Owens. Me? I don’t trust anything the pollsters toss out there. But I know the Democratic Party does, and were I them I’d be (to put it more politely) shaking in my shoes. But I think you know what I mean.

B52 Stratofortresses over the big blue.

Tiger vs. Phil, Thanksgiving weekend. Mano a mano for a cool $10 mil. Should be a lot of fun to watch. Were I Goodboys Exec-Comm (which, gladly, I’m not) I would try to set up a viewing party somewhere nice with food and big-screen TVs. Just a thought.

“Morning Joe Mika” is right: someone’s becoming unhinged. (Hint: it isn’t Donald Trump.) As Buskirk writes:

Mueller has been reduced to pursuing indictments for crimes wholly unrelated to President Trump. Paul Manafort, who briefly managed the president’s campaign, is being tried for some decade-old business deals. The 12 Russian nationals Mueller indicted in July are charged with hacking attacks against both the DNC and RNC email systems. And, by the way, since they are in Russia they will never come to trial. He also indicted 13 Russians earlier this year for their involvement in a Russian troll farm that produced some shockingly amateurish Facebook ads that at different times seemed to support every candidate running including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and Trump. Why? Because the goal of the Russian operation wasn’t a Trump victory; it was to sow social and political discord. Score one for the Russians and their accomplices in American media.

Later in his article, Buskirk provides a Trump video from twenty years ago. Trump’s message and his way of communicating is remarkably consistent with everything he has been saying since he and Melania came down the Trump Tower escalator more than three years ago. To quote Instapundit‘s Glenn Reynolds trademark phrase, “Read the whole thing.”

And speaking of unhinged, Carl Bernstein has got it all wrong – well, almost. And he (of all people) should know it and be able to recognize the differences. This whole Russia thing is worse than Watergate, he’s right about that. But it’s exactly the mirror image of Watergate, which is why it’s worse. In the case of Watergate, you had the party in power – the Nixon White House – using the nation’s intelligence community to sabotage an opposing political party and its candidates. Alternatively, in the case of Russia, you have the nation’s intelligence community attempting to sabotage a political opponent who later becomes a sitting president by weaponizing and using as an excuse a phony dossier developed for his opponent’s political campaign. If Bernstein can’t see the difference in that he’s delusional.

The MLB Network’s Friday night iteration of “MLB Tonight” has become a must-watch. They’ve consciously strived to make it a little looser than the other nights, and with the divisional races all heating up the show has become even more so. I’ve always liked Harold Reynold, and when they bring in the likes of Pedro Martinez, Mike Lowell, and Joe Girardi, it becomes for a baseball junkie the equivalent of an extra double- shot of espresso to a coffee drinker.

Forget about Russia, shouldn’t this item regarding China garner a little more of the press’s attention?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:22 | Comments (0)

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