October 4, 2018

R.I.P Geoff Emerick, legendary engineer for so many of the Beatles’ albums from Revolver to Abbey Road. His book on his tenure with the Fab Four, albeit a tad on the self-serving side, remains a fascinating read. To think of the aural magic producer George Martin and Emerick were able to achieve given the unsophisticated technology of their times seems, compared to this day and age, incredible to believe. But their collective work will hold up forever.

And R.I.P. Peggy Sue. Buddy Holly’s version was, of course, iconic, but I thought the Beach Boys did a pretty fair job of it back in 1978.

Well, well, well – If this is true, maybe not everything was sweet and dandy with the American team at the Ryder Cup. Koepka is denying it, but there’s enough smoke to think that there may have been more fire at the Ryder Cup than just in the way the Europeans played throughout the weekend.

…while on the Ryder Cup. is there a more unlikeable and arrogant player on the PGA Tour than Patrick Reed? Sure, he had two very good Ryder Cups in 2014 and 2016, but he sucked this year. And if it is true that Jordan Spieth didn’t want to play with him, I can’t blame him one bit. I’ll say this: “Captain America” better damned hope he plays his way onto the 2020 American squad, because unless he somehow changes his act between now and then, there’s no captain in the world who would pick Reed as one of his personal picks. Besides, by then I’m guessing there will be too many other better players out there to choose from by then.

…still on the Ryder Cup: it’s sad, but accidents do happen out there. The woman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good thing is I’m sure all of her medical bills will be taken care of, but to threaten legal action is ridiculous. Anyone who attends a golf tournament in person has to know there’s a risk, however slight, of an errant ball heading their way. Accidents do happen.

Now that the MLB regular season is over, let the firings begin. In Baltimore I can’t believe manager Buck Showalter lasted as long as he did – he should have been fired after Memorial Day. His teams have been playing uninspired and fundamentally poor baseball for a couple of years now. And hopefully GM Dan Duquette’s tenure is over there as well. Baltimore is to good a baseball town to be suffering with bad teams like it has been lately. One has to wonder just how much management cares.

While there is not much I agree with when it comes to Chelsea Clinton, she’s spot-on here. It’s one thing for Democrats, the loony left, and their operatives in the mainstream media to oppose Brett Kavanuagh’s nomination on philosophical grounds, it’s a whole ‘nutha thing to see he and his family personally and viciously attacked like they have been. And the behavior of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, from Dianne Feinstein down to Chris Coons and their respective staffs – has been reprehensible, juvenile, and unprofessional in every sense of the word. Fortunately, voters are seeing their elected leaders in Washington behaving in this fashion, and one can only hope that voters respond at the ballot box next month accordingly.

You can tell just where the Democrats think their so-called “resistance” to the Kavanaugh nomination is going when the New York Times once again delves into President Trump’s finances and tax returns. The loony left undoubtedly cares about this kind of thing deeply (although it’s debatable just how much they’ll be inspired to vote because of an issue that couldn’t even prevent Trump from being elected in 2016. Most rational folks know all about Trump’s wealth and how the wealthy are able to work the tax codes to their benefit; they’ve long ceased to care. What I think voters do care about is the rockin’ economy and the performance of their 401Ks. Of course, don’t expect the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN to cover anything as insignificant as that – it’s much more important to focus their undivided attention on the drinking habits of a high schooler and college student nominated for the Supreme Court. Morons.

It’s a world gone mad. What dufuses in the marketing department came up with this? It’s not only ridiculous it’s a cynically transparent idea thinking that millennials are too stupid to think they can get more than just donuts at Dunkin’ Donuts. I mean, everyone in New England knows DD as D-squared, right? Now what are we supposed to call it – D?

Let the record show that on Wednesday, October 3rd the first Halloween decorations showed up in our neighborhood and the first Christmas catalog arrived in the mail.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:44 | Comments Off on Thursday Thoughts
October 3, 2018

Target Handicap: 20.0
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 27.5 / Change: (+0.3)
Location: TPC Scottsdale – Stadium Course
Score: 53

Welcome to the Golf Quest – The Next Generation. You might note that, unlike previous Golf Quest posts, I’m no longer arranging my Golf Quest around prepping for the next Goodboys Invitational weekend. First of all, I have no clue as to when that weekend will be (a change of venues might be in the wind). Secondly, no matter when that might be, I’m admittedly on the fence and taking a wait-and-see attitude as far as my future participation goes. Given my age and my stage in life, it feels far more comfortable to have a target handicap I can work towards without having to worry about getting my game together within some predetermined time schedule. Now that I’m nearly 63 and (hopefully) four years from retirement, I’m much more comfortable making being a 20-handicap golfer a larger target in my overall golf experience. No pressure, just play whenever I can and see if I can make inroads towards that magic number.

It was with that mindset that I decided to try and play nine holes at TPC Scottsdale’s legendary Stadium Course this past weekend while Tracey and I were spending a couple of nights at the nearby Scottsdale Princess to celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. It was Saturday, and Tracey had lined up a message and assorted activities at their spa, so I grabbed my clubs and took the shuttle down to the TPC to see how I might amuse myself for a few hours.

The golf shop folks at TPC were the most accommodating and gracious folks I’ve met at any golf shop, anywhere. Told them I had a few hours to kill and what would be the most cost-effective way of doing it. Was told I had my choice of spending $80 for an all-day pass with access to their driving range, chipping area, and putting green, or I could pay $112 for 9 holes at the Stadium course were I willing to wait an hour until the twilight rate kicked in. That was no-brainer – I could hit the Toro restaurant grill for a beer, then go out and work on my game for half-hour or so.

A beer and my own cart later, I’m at the driving range with unlimited balls to hit and the chipping and putting area just across the cart path. It was cool to think a hacker like The Great White Shank could be standing and hitting ball in the same exact place as any number of tour pros would be doing at the Waste Management Open. I felt relaxed and then reassured when I didn’t shank or skull the first few pitching wedges I hit to limber up. I felt even better when the first few drives I hit seemed to lack that friggin’ dipsy-do, right-to-left push/slice that had cropped out of nowhere when I played with my Goodboys pal Killer a few weeks ago.

I had been hitting balls for maybe fifteen minutes, just focusing on tempo and slowing down, slowing down, when Aiden, who had been so nice in escorting me to the driving range and showing where everything was, drives up and asks me if I want to get out a little early. Five minutes later, I’m standing on the first tee at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course placing my orange Wilson 50 on a tee with my playing partners, a couple vacationing from China who spoke no English and some dude with tattoos all over his body just off a place from Vancouver, watching.

The course was absolutely gorgeous, a Tom Weiskopf design that you have to play to believe. A course with every hole laid out so beautifully. No 2,000 yard carries like at the tricked-up Foxwoods course we played during Goodboys weekend this year. Just a thinking man’s course where you can see the entire hole laid out in front of you, look at the little orange ball in your hand, and think about how best to get said ball into said hole in four or five strokes. The greens were perfect – you didn’t want to be above the hole, ever. And if you were below the hole you still had to give the ball a whack. But they rolled pure from beginning to end. And the sand trap? Like white powder – several of which I found myself in. Unbelievable.

The first tee has been a problem for me all this year.
This time I slammed a drive center-cut 230 yards smack-dab in the middle of the fairway.
We were off.

But this is The Great White Shank standing in the fairway, just 111 yards from the green. I grab my 9-iron and try and focus on taking an easy swing. I yank it 20 yards right, one bounce off a hill, and into someone’s back yard. Took a drop, chip and two putts for a double-bogey 6.

The Great White Shank can play double-bogey golf in his sleep.

But it was the triple bogey blues that got me on #s 2, 3, and 5. Three putts on two and three after chunking a 5-iron on #2, skulling a 5-wood OB on #3 (after another beautiful drive, no less), and on #5 after my drive trickled into a big and beautiful fairway bunker ending up just under the lip. All I could do was laugh at where it ended up and try and power it out backwards. Which I did, but then, after a majestic 7-iron fade to twenty feet, ol’ Mr. “Three Wiggle” got me again. But it couldn’t have been any more fun. You could just see the grins on our faces as we tried to navigate our way into good positions on each hole. It was golf the way it should be – multiple ways to play each hole, choose your risk and reward. In some ways it reminded me of two of my favorite courses, Passaconaway and Portsmouth – courses with character and your challenge laid our right in front of you.

I made a few mistakes out there, left (I’m guessing) six strokes out there, putted really poorly – 22 putts. But overall, it was just an enjoyable round. Finished bogey-bogey-bogey the last three holes which was very satisfying. The sun was setting low and the last 100-degree day of the year was working its way towards dusk. The Pinot Grigio in the Toro lounge afterwards tasted great as I drank in one of the great golf experiences of my life. Would have been nice to play 18 and the stadium par 3 #12 (without the stadium, which is put up and taken down every year), but nine holes was good enough. And a fantastic Mexican restaurant at the Princess was waiting.

I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get to a 20-handicap – besides working on that 3/4 swing my Goodboys pal “The Funny Guy” keeps encouraging me to do, I’ve got some work to do on the angle of my take-away and getting it less flat. But the short-game tip Killer gave me a few weeks ago is really paying off, and I’m confident my putting is going to come around. Sure, my handicap now stands at a whopping 27.5 (!) but I’m confident that with work 7 1/2 strokes isn’t going to be that hard to shave off.

But that’s my goal: 7 1/2 strokes. Whenever I can whittle them down. Could take me a year, could take me two. But it’s a nice goal to have. And when I finally achieve it, I’ll look back on an early fall Saturday afternoon at TPC Scottsdale with a sense of wonder and pleasurey. Paired with lodging at the Scottsdale Princess just down the street, it’s a golf destination combo that’s pretty damned hard to beat.

The Golf Quest is on…

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 02:13 | Comments Off on No Reason To Panic
October 2, 2018

A few items on an unusually dark, gloomy, and rainy Tuesday:

Congratulations to Team Europe on a magnificent performance at this year’s Ryder Cup. I’m as surprised as anyone at the rout they gave the Americans, but I guess I shouldn’t have been if I had read the tea leaves: the course at Le Golf National, Paris, France demanded accuracy both off the tee and from the fairways, and that’s just not how golf is played on the PGA Tour these days. By and large, the courses are set up for the players to hit the ball as far as they can and be able to have a shot no matter where they might end up. That’s not the game the Europeans are used to – because the courses are not as exquisitely manicured as the American courses are they know fairways and greens are the key to playing well.

…and can we be honest here? With the exception of Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, and Jordan Spieth, how many Americans do you really fins likeable? Personally, I look at the team and don’t see a whole lot of players who actually seem like they enjoy the whole Ryder Cup experience. Patrick Reed’s an ass, and I don’t think Bubba Watson, Tiger, and Dustin Johnson are that far removed. Phil Mickelson’s star has lost a lot of shine, in my opinion – I find it hard to root for him anymore. And the rest seem like a bunch of colorless, privileged country club types. Europe, on the other hand, just play with a kind of fearless joy that you can’t dislike. Run down the roster and tell me who you find unlikeable. They play as a team, and it’s a joy to watch.

…only 191 days until the opening round of the Masters.

This is not your father’s Democratic Party.

…and neither is this.

You have to wonder what the Democrats think they’re achieving with all their juvenile actions and hateful rhetoric. Honestly, these people have to be the most miserable people on the face of the earth. I hate to say it (actually I don’t) but who would want to vote for people who convey such hatred and negativity in everything they think, do, or say? I’m not saying they should have to agree with or side with President Trump and the Republicans as the opposition party. But why can’t they do so in a professional and classy way? Do they actually think their bitter and hateful behavior gets them votes? I believe in the end that voters want to vote for something that’s positive. Today’s Democratic Party has been consumed by hatred, and they wear it on their sleeves like the stench of death.

You want to know why I like President Trump? Just like Lincoln liked General Ulysses S. Grant: he fights.

Here’s a pretty damned fine tune by an ex-Beatle written by another ex-Beatle that hit the charts right about this time 45 years ago. Definitely a George tune, but Ringo getting by with a little help from his friend. And Jack Nitzsche’s string arrangement combined with Richard Perry’s production is something right out of the Phil Spector playbook. Stunning.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 05:52 | Comments Off on Tuesday Tidbits
October 1, 2018

It’s not every day (or actually, year) that you get the remnants of a Pacific hurricane making a beeline towards the Valley of the Sun, but it looks like that’s going to be the case with Hurricane Rosa. Yesterday morning, thin clouds could be seen towards the southwest and by afternoon they started looking like a true storm system. We got 1/4″ of rain last night but the big rains are still a ways off. They’re saying we could get anywhere from one to three inches of rain overnight through later tomorrow, so we’ll have to see. There are Flash Flood watches up everywhere, but our little subdivision isn’t prone to anything like that.

What was quite welcome along with the clouds of Rosa was a lovely afternoon to do some yardwork – the temperatures were in the low 90s, so I did all the kinds of things in preparation for the coming of Arizona winter: trimmed some bushes, backwashed the pool, took what is probably the last swim in the pool for the year (82 wasn’t chilly but it wasn’t warm either!!), and switched all of my irrigation stations to winter settings. The queen palms have had their winter feeding, and they’ll shortly go into dormant stage until next April.

No matter how much rain we get out of Rosa no one around here will be complaining – anything we can do to help the Colorado River basin will not only help Arizona out, but our neighbors in Mexico, Nevada, and California as well!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:28 | Comments Off on Here Comes Rosa!

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