March 21, 2019

A few thoughts while welcoming Spring here in the Valley of the Sun.

Taco Bell hot sauce: is there anything it can’t do?

Agreed – Rickie Lee Jones was a great album. Hard to believe it’s forty years old. I’ve always enjoyed Jones’s music – it’s quirky, sometimes dopey, always entertaining. I think my favorite performance of hers is her one-of-a-kind rendition of “O Holy Night” on The Chieftains’ Bells of Dublin release. Check it out. It might take a couple of listens, but I guarantee you’ll find it as charming and almost childlike as I do.

Democratic clown car candidates – example #1: Nothing like a wealthy, privileged East Coast elitist promoting “a discussion” of making people who make a helluva lot less than she does in income pay for something they had nothing to do with to people who haven’t suffered one iota from slavery. Something only a liberal loon could conjure up, no?

Democratic clown car candidates – example #2: Hey Andrew, I’ll make you a deal: I promise to keep my hands off of yours if you promise to keep your paws off of mine. Seriously, what kind of moron comes up with this shit?

Democratic clown car candidates – example #3 : What else would you expect when you’re someone who has slept your way into power? Kamala Harris may be as dumb as a rock and a total bitch, but she’s as ambitious as hell. Not to mention the queen of hypocrisy.

Democratic clown car candidates example #4: Brave?? Heh. She’s the Democrat equivalent of Monty Python’s Sir Robin. She’s a joke, and a bad one at that.

Honestly, if these are the best the Democrats have going into 2020, it will be Michael Dukakis all over again.

…and don’t get me started on poor “Slo” Joe Biden. That dude can’t even imagine what is waiting for him as soon as he announces. He’s going to be ground into a pulp by the Berniebots.

…never mind the fact that ol’ Bern may have himself a minority bloc enthusiasm issue.

So lets see: in the past week FOX News has: (1) Suspended Judge Jeanine Pirro for a question based on a truthful premise, (2) added long-time Democratic operative and debate cheater Donna Brazile as a commentator, and (3) given anti-Trumper and illegal immigration stooge Paul Ryan a seat on its Board of Directors. As Bob Dylan once sang, “you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” FOX News is systematically and deliberately destroying its brand.

…which is OK, as far as I’m concerned: since they’re abdicating the niche as the political counterpoint to the CNNs and MSNBCs out there, I predict someone with some big-ass dough-re-mi is going to see the way clear to create their own major conservative cable network (OANN, at least at this point doesn’t count). And don’t count the Trumps out in this: they have the money and the gall, and they aren’t afraid of making the mainstream media’s collective heads explode.

Prediction: we’re all about to find out just how much of a snake “American hero” John McCain was. And wife Cindy and daughter Meghan can spare me their crocodile tears: he was a vile, petty, and corrupt hack of a politician. But at least the mainstream media loved him – which was all he ever wanted, anyways. But from the beginning, he sought to derail a Trump presidency.

At the same time that McCain was appearing to let “bygones-be-bygones”; while he was endorsing and standing by Trump, McCain sent one of his top aides on a desperate flight to London. Why? Because McCain had become aware of a “dossier” that had been compiled by a former British MI6 intelligence agent and Russian specialist, Christopher Steele. The report allegedly contained the “truth” about Donald Trump’s illicit connections to Russia, and its autocratic and kleptocratic leader, Vladimir Putin. Unable to swallow that Trump’s campaign rhetoric was just that, political brinkmanship during a tough primary, McCain helped initiate the greatest political witch hunt in the modern history of our republic. Together, with his former Democratic Party “rivals,” such as former President Barack Obama and the 2016 Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, McCain operated as an insurgent from behind the political battle lines: pushing the salacious dossier into the waiting hands of Trump’s foes.

It did not matter that the dossier was unvetted. It also did not matter that the dossier was initially created after anti-Trump elements within the Republican Party paid Fusion-GPS, an opposition research firm headed by Democratic Party members who were also full-time DOJ officials, such as Bruce Ohr. What mattered was that John McCain was going to exact his vengeance upon Donald Trump for having questioned his untouchable status. The fact that McCain, rather than respond to Trump’s attacks–counterpunching, as Trump called it–opted to instead lay low; let the Trump Campaign gain momentum, and then attempt to cut that momentum off at the last possible moment with propaganda from overseas implies a degree of maliciousness unbefitting a former United States Naval officer. After all, McCain had claimed that he had moved beyond Trump’s attacks. He had indicated that all was settled between the two of them. Instead, he bitterly clung onto his grudge against Trump and tried to subvert him.

Of course, they’ll never tell you that! But they know.

What a bunch of maroons. Can you say, “Forward Base Trump” in Polish and/or Hungarian? Because that’s what’s going to happen, and Trump’s got the cojones to do it. Screw “Adolf” Merkel and the Germans. All they’re good for is beer, wienerschnitzel, and golfers Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer, anyways.

If you’re Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, this has got to hurt. Hey, don’t blame The Great White Shank, I tried to tell her she oughta put a lid on it (at least for a while), but I guess damned-cute socialist chicks just can’t help themselves.

Hey Goodboys! Who’s in on going all Patti Page your July this year? Not that I’ve heard anything, of course…

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March 18, 2019

Just another reason why you’ll never see The Great White Shank’s butt ever residing in Massachusetts ever again. The Bay State might be a great place to visit during the summer and fall, but politically it’s a cesspool. The spoils system associated with its political class at both the state and county level is more than just a joke, its a disgrace. And the fact that people there put up with it and think it’s all a joke tells you everything you need to know.

Congratulations to Rory McIlroy for winning THE PLAYERS. So there I was, at Los Olivos in Old Town Scottsdale after hitting a large bucket of balls, a margarita, a bowl of guacamole, and a ground beef taco in front of me. It was St. Patricks’ Day so the Mexican restaurant is not exactly ground zero for foodies, if you know what I mean. I have a corner of the bar all to myself, and THE PLAYERS on Golf Channel on the flat screen. I’m thinking to myself, it’s St. Patricks’ Day, I’ve got Mexican food and a margarita in front of me, I’ve got a ring-side seat to THE PLAYERS, I’m happily fatigued from hitting a large bucket of golf balls, and a woman who loves me. A nice memory to have when I’m lying in a hospital bed dying with tubes up my nose and my ass.

…poor Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com. His “Big Cat” shoots three under in the final round and he’s lathering all over himself. Hey Kyle, your “Big Cat” once again proves he’s just another golfer out there on the big boys’ tour.

Thank you, President Trump. This is how an American administration should act. If Hillary Clinton were president I guarantee you the “apology tour” started under Barack Obama would be in full swing.

Ditto on this. It’s about time GM is held accountable for all the handouts they got from American taxpayers.

No surprise there. The American mainstream media is exactly the reflection of Democratic congresswoman Ilham Omar. They love Muslims and hate Christians. Someone shoots up a school or a Pittsburgh mosque, and it’s Trump’s fault and time to confiscate all guns. Some wacked-out Bernie Sanders supporter opens fire on a group of Republican congressman having softball practice? Crickets. The mainstream media has become the equivalent of domestic terrorists and seditionists.

..because, as with stories like this, when you accept the fact that the mainstream media as nothing more than a bunch of Democratic operatives disguising themselves as “journalists” it all makes sense.

R.I.P. Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar”. Wow. All my musical heroes are all disappearing. Now I know how my mom felt whenever she’d hear about the passing of someone from her teenage years and beyond. Next they’ll be coming for me.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

My guess is what happened at Boeing to allow the 737 MAX to fly is the same thing that is happening at my company and companies all over the US. You have senior management who couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag with instructions written on it, unaccountable to anyone. And an environment where those who dissent are accused of not being loyal and then let go or reassigned. You have Human Resources organizations that are neither human nor a resource. And worst of all, you have managers who have come from other companies who bring all their hacks and yes-men along with them in order to insulate themselves from being accountable for anything they do. It’s a damned good thing I’m planning on retiring (hopefully) in 3 1/2 years!

Man, I hate it when the Democrats’ core constituency misbehaves.

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March 16, 2019

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend here in the Valley of the Sun. Saturday I’m going to devote to pleasure (working on my golf game), while Sunday will be painful with a ton of work on my plate. In the meanwhile:

Beto O’Rourke is your typical Democratic politician fraud. Oh yeah, he’s really worried about his own personal carbon footprint. I’ll say it for, like, the hundredth time: when Democrats start taking their consumption of fossil fuels seriously, I’ll start taking their hysteria over climate change seriously. Until then, shut the hell up.

Speaking of your so-called up-and-coming Democrats, this Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a piece of work, isn’t she? Just another shining star in today’s Democratic Party (the party of compassion, dontcha know?), I guess.

It’s the weekend of THE PLAYERS, and I’m already sick of NBC repeating ad nauseum Gary Koch’s “Better than most!” call. Yeah, it was interesting at the time, but enough is enough. I’ve already heard it a half-dozen times, and we’re not even into the weekend yet!

R.I.P. Hal Blaine, rock drummer extraordinaire. All you have to do is listen to an oldies station for two hours and I guarantee you’ll hear a sing featuring Hal on the skins. He worked with everyone from Spector to Elvis to Sinatra (Frank and Nancy), including practically every L.A.-based ’60s and ’70s pop icon. He was witty, smart (well, except when it came to women), and was absolutely the best in the business. His passing marks the end of an era we will never see again.

Regardless of what you might hear from the likes of CNN and MSNBC, Donald Trump didn’t pull the trigger on those poor folks in New Zealand. Sometimes a wacko is just a wacko.

So now it’s the likes of none other than Chelsea Clinton – Chelsea Clinton! – at the mercy of the PC mob. Here’s a word of advice to you, Chelsea (not that you’d listen) – actually two words: NEVER. APOLOGIZE. Even if you do, the PC mob could care less.

…but she is right: Rep. Omar is an America-hating, vile anti-Semite with the intelligence of a six year old. She’s an embarrassment to a Democratic Party that, frankly, has gone beyond embarrassment at this point. And a word of advice to anyone out there who doesn’t like hearing Rep. Omar called for who she is: if you’re looking for apologies, you’ve come to the wrong place, podna.

CBSSports.com’s Kyle Porter is biggest Tiger Woods butt-wipe in the business. So let me get this straight, Kyle: if your so-called “Big Cat” (and you’re the only clown in the industry who calls him that) doesn’t dunk two balls in the water and quad-bogeys #17 he’d be right up there on the leaderboard. Using that kind of logic, if Phil Mickelson didn’t miss a few two-foot putts and birdied all 18 holes he’d be -14 and leading the tournament instead of missing the cut. When are you going to stop making excuses for “Big Cat” and simply recognize the guy is now just an ordinary golfer on the PGA Tour? Sure, he might win a few more tournaments down the line – perhaps even a major – but his days of dominance are over. Whatever your “Big Cat” can do these days, there are more than a dozen others who, given the right course and the right set of circumstances, can do the very same thing. Grow up.

Just another reason why John McCain was a vile and petty bastard. Sorry folks, don’t miss him, not in the least. And his no-talent daughter used up her fifteen minutes of fame a long time ago.

If CNN wasn’t broadcast in the nation’s airports would anyone besides the most deranged Trump-hater watch? To see a once-vibrant news organization go to hell is just sad. Could you imagine working there? CNN is nothing but a bad joke.

And speaking of bad jokes, how about today’s Democratic Party? Just one look at all those who have declared for 2020 ought to tell you something. Oh, and just wait until poor Joe Biden announces and watch the knives come out. The Democrats have nothing left but a bunch a identity-politicians who hate Donald Trump and give the word “shallow” a bad name. Can someone tell me exactly what platform these clowns are going to run on?

…which is why – and you heard it here first, folks! – Michelle Obama is going to be the Democratic candidate in 2020.

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March 14, 2019

It would appear that our unusually gray and wet “Arizona winter” is over, with a wide open, HOV-lane way clear to what promises to be a short spring before we start getting much warmer weather.

If you’re a golfer or a Spring Training fan, it’s hardly been Chamber of Commerce weather this winter. The folks who came down here for the Christmas / New Year’s holidays found the Valley of the Sun anything but: the weather was lousy. And while Waste Management Phoenix Open weekend was OK, it was a chilly one, never really got out of the 60s even on the sunniest of days.

Of course, for those of us who call these parts home you won’t get a whole lot of complaints – rain has been fairly regular and decently plentiful. Looking at the Southwest in general, the mountains of California, Nevada, and Arizona have been absolutely pounded with wet snow on a regular basis since the New Year. That’s got to be good news if you’re responsible for monitoring water levels on the Colorado River and Lake Mead. Even folks like yours truly have benefitted: I haven’t had to run my irrigation systems for a straight week yet this year, and there have been a couple of weeks where I’ve had the water completely turned off.

But, as the Rolling Stones once sang, “It’s All Over Now”: next week we’ll be in the mid-to-high ’80s, and while that will feel really nice compared to what we’ve had thus far this year, those of us who live around here all know that the ’80s are merely a hop skip and jump to the ’90s, and after that we’ll be well on our way to May and the first triple-digit days of the year. After that, monsoon season won’t be far behind.

Here at the Richard hacienda, the irrigation system goes back on starting tomorrow and probably won’t get shut off anytime soon. It’s near time to schedule the feeding of our queen palms in the back. Looking out my home office window on this sun-drenched day, I’ve got buds on our lime tree; the night air will soon be sweet with the fragrance of fruit tree flowers. It won’t be as nice this year as it has been in the past: the guy at the end of the street cleared out all his orange bushes and trees – a damned shame because it made the walk to and from the mailbox a dreamy, lovely experience.

But one look at the calendar tell you that the year is already flying by: there’s corned beef and cabbage to be picked up at the supermarket for St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re less than a month away from Masters week. Heck, any day now I expect to hear from Goodboys Exec-Comm where we’ll be staying and playing for this year’s Goodboys Invitational weekend – it’s a damned good thing my hand is finally rounding into shape for scheduling my first round of golf for the year.

The year is flying by.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:23 | Comments (2)
March 10, 2019

I believe in serendipity.

…and I desperately needed a diversion.

It was Saturday morning, and boy, did I need a diversion. A string of 14-hour days swimming in the shallows with some very big sharks at work and a string of medical appointments with Tracey had left me so dog-friggin’-tired on Friday night that it was all I could do to crawl off to bed at 10 PM after a dinner and a hot bath. But a weekend and a new day awaited, and, rather than doing the work I promised by boss, I knew I needed a diversion: something that would make me think I actually had a life, y’know?

But where to go? Say, I have an idea – how about going down to the PGA Tour Superstore down the street?

I really hadn’t planned on buying anything, but while poking through the clearance aisle a salesperson came up to me and asked if I was looking for something. I guess in some way the scene recalled Ralphie in A Christmas Story when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, when after not being able to remember to tell him what he really wanted, Ralphie starts crawling up the slide and blurts out in rapid-fire the exact requirements of the BB gun he so desperately hungered for.

“A TaylorMade #3 hybrid and 60-degree wedge!” I blurted out, my mouth far ahead of where my brain was at the time. (No surprise there!)

The sales guy smiled and said, “Guess it’s your lucky day. Just so happens there’s a TaylorMade fitting rep here with us today. Why don’t you go over to the TaylorMade stall and introduce yourself? I’ll be over with your clubs in just a minute.”

The TaylorMade guy was indeed there, but, to be truthful, from the sounds of it golf wasn’t his only gig. From what I could gather from the conversation he was having on his phone it sounded as if he was also somehow involved in real estate – nothing surprising there, it seems like everyone these days has a toe or two dipped in our very h-o-t hot real estate market. But he seemed like a nice enough guy. Asked me a bunch of questions, seemed genuinely concerned about what I was looking for. He set up the machine for a left-handed golfer, and by that time the sales guy had brought samples of a M6 3 hybrid and a 60-degree wedge for me to try.

(The backstory of this is that I’ve been feeling very frustrated with the Cobra hybrids I’ve been carrying for two years now. I’ve tried everything: setting the ball in the middle of my stance, a little back in my stance, a little forward in my stance, a lot forward in my stance. Upright swing plane, shallow swing plane. Swing harder, swing slower. Nothing seems to permanently take, and frankly, it’s not just hurting my game, it’s pissing me off. And the Callaway 58-degree wedge I’ve been using has been OK – I’ve actually had some highlights with it – but it’s one ugly muhfuhkah (if you know what I mean), with a big black circle of something that nothing seems to be able to remove. And besides, I’ve been just wanting to get anything and everything Callaway out of my bag. It’s OK for everyone else, but my past experiences with Callaways have left a bad taste in my mouth.)

That didn’t mean, of course, that I was going to buy anything – one thing about TaylorMades (and, I guess, just about any golf club manufacturer) is that new equipment is expensive. And for me, a 26-handicap golfer striving to get down to a 20, the equipment is the absolute last issue I have with my game. More work on my driver, short irons, and course management will do a helluva lot more to reduce my handicap than any new club or clubs added to the bag.

But as I say, I needed a diversion.

I dropped a ball and started taking swings with the TaylorMade 3 hybrid. No question it had a nice feel to it. The TaylorMade rep spent the first five minutes watching me, agreeing with me that the correct way to play this club was position the ball in the middle of my stance and swing at 70% my normal swing. After a few swings he asked me why I was a 26-handicap. I replied that’s what everyone asks. He tells me he’s going to off to try and find me a couple of different shaft flexes, but I could tell he was itching to make a couple of phone calls and was left alone.

I really enjoyed the time. Whacking balls into the screen, playing around with ball position, swing plane, swing speed. After the week I’d had, I felt like I was on a mini golf vacation. My hand felt even better than it did on Thursday when I hit a large bucket for the very first time since my Xiaflex procedure back in December, which had felt better than my first time out hitting a small bucket ten days’ prior to that. The discomfort was there, but barely noticeable. Overhead, the speakers were playing 70s rock – I heard Kenny Loggins, Chic, Van Morrison’s “Old Domino” I hadn’t heard for a while. Seals & Croft’s insipid “Hummingbird” I could do without. I was taking swings and really enjoying the feel of the club in my hands. Was it better than the Cobra 3 hybrid? Not that I could really tell. My distances when caught fairly decently to “on the screws” had been ranging anywhere from 171 to 185 yards – probably no better, no worse than how I probably hit the Cobra.

By this time, I had probably hit the equivalent of a medium-sized bucket, and the TaylorMade guy hadn’t come back. If I hadn’t been enjoying the overall experience – hitting golf balls, music overhead, the sounds of golf-related activity all around me – I probably would have just up and left at that time.

But, as I said above, I believe in serendipity.

(It should be stated at this point that one of the things I have been working very hard on as of late is the feeling of having my arms and the shaft vertical and at the very same place at impact as they are at address. This goes back to last fall when I was struggling mightily with my short game and my Goodboys pal Killer encouraged me to get the shaft vertical to the ground at impact on my chips – something that has made a huge difference with my short game.)

I had taken a few minutes to take a break and just enjoy my surroundings. I dropped a new ball and then at that very moment just happened to make the absolute best, purest swing of the session, catching it right on the screws – perfect swing, perfect ball flight – when overhead came the sounds of ABBA singing “I Do, I Do, I Do, I do, I Do”, with it’s opening lines:

Love me or leave me, make your choice but believe me
I love you
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do
I can’t conceal it, don’t you see, can’t you feel it?
Don’t you too?
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

I stood there posing, those few precious seconds where everything in life seems to be in sync: finish on the front foot, back toe screwed into the ground, club finish high just off the shoulders, the ball, following the perfect trajectory and apex, stopping at a whopping 194 yards from the tee. Overhead, Agnetha and Frida crooning the song I would later log at #1 on the Goodboys Nation blog post I had been working off and on for the past couple of weeks. It was a moment in time, something that doesn’t happen very often.

“Nice swing.”

I hadn’t noticed the TaylorMade guy was back and had been watching. I sure hoped he hadn’t seen my previous swing (a big push skied to the left that barely went 140 yards).

“I have this stiff flex shaft you might want to try.”

“No thanks”, I told him. I’ll take the clubs.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 09:50 | Comments (0)
March 9, 2019

Ed. note: this post contains occasional male chauvinist-pig content. I make no apologies if I offend anyone.

I’ll admit it: this post has been haunting me for quite some time. More than a few false starts, because I start thinking about what I want to write about and then I think: fer gawdsakes, ABBA?? But I’m tired of seeing it on my WordPress dashboard, and besides – it wasn’t all that long ago I did the same thing with Olivia Newton-John – Olivia Newton John! I guess it just goes to show you what’s left to write about when there’s no golf to play for the near future.

Oh, one final word: want to start a good bar-room debate that isn’t political? Just like the seemingly-endless Gilligan’s Island debate involving Ginger and Mary Ann – as if you can tell just about everything about a guy by their preference (I was always a Mary Ann, guy, BTW) – you can do the same thing with the ABBA ladies: the doe-eyed, girl-next-door-with-the-fabulous-ass Agnetha Fältskog, or raven-haired beauty Anni-Frid Lyngstad (a.k.a. Frida), who, with those gorgeous cat eyes, looks like she’d leave you for dead in bed, then threaten you with a knife in your back if you ever, EVER, treat her badly. Look, I appreciate a Swedish beauty like Agnetha like any other guy, but I have to say that Frida was the one that always made my knees knock with those “still waters run deep” persona going on behind those gorgeous eyes.

So let’s get this on and over with, shall we?

10. Chiquitita. Sure ABBA has been accused over the years of writing songs with kind of trite, simplistic hooks, but this song shows that the guys who wrote the songs knew how a good melody could transcend their own Swedish heritage with a sound and melody sounding like it came from south of the Rio Grande. They’d do the same thing (and even better) with Fernando (#6), but this is still a damned good song. The ladies acquit themselves rather well in this live performance, which is “live” only in the fact that they are there in person.

9. Knowing Me, Knowing You. Hook city! Just like everything ABBA seemed to do for a good 6-7 year period the guitar/synth riff – or is it the chorus? – will stick in your brain long after you’ve heard it. Which is, when you come to think about it, everything that pop music used to (and should) be. Like, you know (to quote Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), no profanity and no negativity. Frida takes the lead on this, and she sure looks and sounds good doing it in those gold boots and white miniskirt. The longer flap in back makes a nice fashion touch, although it hides Agnetha’s lovely posterior.

8. The Winner Takes It All. One of ABBA’s last hits, this song almost has an almost-operatic arrangement and feel to it. An unusual song by ABBA’s standards, in that there’s nothing particularly happy about the song: it truly is a downer – a song about a couple’s breakup – but Agnetha’s voice provides the right dramatic effect throughout with (gasp!) actual emotion. It’s almost – for her – a solo performance, and it’s strange to see her sing a song without any trace of that sweet smile of hers.

7. SOS. This song has a kind of European flavor to it with the electric keyboard intro and swirling synth that leads into an eminently-hummable chorus. My ears always enjoyed the way the chorus slides into “…when you’re gone…” because I always pictured some strong distorted guitars giving the song a heavier feel. But this is ABBA we’re talking about – right? So nothing is going to ever get too heavy, even with the quasi-classical (albeit brief) instrumental break and song close. It’s a song about a love affair gone wrong, but it’s what the rock n’ roll was always about: happy melodies telling sad stories.

6. Fernando. To me this sounds like ABBA’s attempt to think outside the box, perhaps even to be taken seriously. Everything here seems to be painted for dramatic purposes: the somber opening and orchestral backing throughout. Frida (who looks especially lovely here, BTW) takes the solo lead on the opening verse, and the BB boys can actually be heard during the chorus. An exquisite piece of pop perfection from beginning to end (not the last time you’ll hear those two words together in this thread.)

5. Dancing Queen. Probably their most well-known and successful song. From the opening glissando into an easy disco groove you could just tell the song was going to be a monster hit. Pop perfection rarely gets better than this: it’s what music (spelled m-u-s-I-c, not n-o-i-s-e) used to be: happy, positive, uplifting. Whenever I hear the song the low harmony on the chorus is always fun to try and sing to. Sure, the moves by the ladies in the video scream hokey, but they are lovely to look at, and they’ve certainly got great material to work with. For ABBA this one was “winner winner chicken dinner” from start to finish.

4. Does Your Mother Know. Another classic piece of pop confection-perfection with a unbeatable hook in the chorus. Björn Ulvaeus takes the lead here but he’s almost a non-factor: the song itself is a romp, reminiscent of 1950s/’60s rock with the ladies stealing the show with their harmonies. Rather than the official video (which is pretty boring), I call your attention to this “live” performance with the ladies dressed in killer white, grinding and twerking their way through the song. Frida appears to be especially exuberant, which makes me think she could really be a party girl when she wanted to.

3. Take A Chance On Me. I dunno, I always liked this song because the a cappella opening is just so interesting and helps the song jump out of the radio and distinguish anything else out there at the time. The song is actually kind of unique in it’s own way, with a chorus and a “middle eight” – a form they would repeat in “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” (see below). The video accompanying the song is also pretty inventive, recalling the old Brady Bunch TV show. It’s just a perfect pop tune with yet another hook that will stay in your brain long after the song is over.

2. Waterloo. There are some songs that transcend time, in that you can remember exactly where you were the first time you heard it. My ears perked up big-time while waiting for my steak and cheese sub order on a lovely warm night in June, 1975. I had just been promised a date with the girl I would date for the next four years, and I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I hear this song over the sound system and, boy, was I hooked. There aren’t too many songs that just jump off the radio like this one, and that feeling was affirmed while hearing it come over the speakers where I was having lunch while waiting for my car’s oil change last Sunday. The song’s killer from the start. I linked to the original video only because their mid-70s outfits are so preposterous, but what I really want to call your attention to is a clip with the ladies wearing their infamous cat outfits; they even have their names on back. 🙂 To which, all I can say is, not too many girls can pull that look off, but Agnetha and Frida sure did. Kinda reminds me of that Rodney Dangerfield line from Caddyshack: “Looks good on you, though!”

1. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do. My #1 choice because, truth be told, I absolutely adore this song. Once again – as seems kind of typical with ABBA, they have a rather unique way of opening the song (with alto and tenor saxes) that absolutely jumps out of the radio and grabs you from the start. The song, like “Take A Chance on Me” (above) really doesn’t follow the traditional pop form in that there are no verses, per se: it’s all just choruses and a “middle eight” that holds the choruses together with a instrumental break that repeats the opening and chorus. The song has such a late-50s/early 60s romp feel to it one can almost imagine someone like Connie Francis or any of the Phil Spector “girl groups” singing it. I’ve linked to the official video, but as with “Waterloo”, there’s a second “unofficial” video made for Swedish TV that’s worth a look only because of Frida’s performance during it. The whole video is a little odd, but it’s Frida’s performance that catches the eye. I love the way she keeps fishing her wine glass around without getting any, then Agnetha turns to her a few times as if to make sure she’s sticking with “the program”. Finally, there’s that look of smug self-satisfaction at 3:18 when the singing part of the song is over: it’s almost is if she made it through the shoot regardless of what anyone else thought. I just think it’s pleasantly odd and/or awkward. One thing’s for certain, though: the ladies look as sunny and beautiful as their surroundings.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:11 | Comments (0)
March 2, 2019

Hard to believe, but three months to the day I last played golf I actually went out and hit a small bucket of balls today. Boy, did it feel good. It was only just a few days ago when, after taking off the splint I have to wear on my right hand while sleeping (all the way though mid-June, BTW), I actually felt like there was finally progress being made in my hand. I could still see the swelling around the bottom of my fingers, but all of a sudden, after taking off the splint upon waking, my hand didn’t feel as if it would shatter into pieces when making a fist. And I could feel after a day’s worth of work the hand didn’t feel as stiff as it normally had been.

So Saturday afternoon I tossed the clubs into the trunk and bought a small bucket over at nearby Kokopelli G.C. It was a perfect afternoon to hit balls: a little light cloud cover, 75 degrees. Lovely. I was rusty, for sure – who wouldn’t be after not hitting balls for three months? – but while still feeling the swelling whenever I would make contact, the worst it ever got was what I would characterize as “mild discomfort”. So I’m going to see how the hand feels tomorrow after putting a little ice on it tonight, and we’ll see what the next steps are.

I’ll tell you this: it felt good to be back!

A few other thoughts:

You probably won’t hear a whole of positives about the President’s epic two-hour CPAC speech today from the usual “fake news” outlets, but if I’m a Democrat strategist for any of the 2020 candidates, I’m no longer unaware of the mountain that’s ahead of me to climb. Incumbents in and of themselves have a baked-in advantage with unaffiliated voters and independents who, regardless of who the incumbent is, prefers the devil they know over the devil they don’t. But Trump’s speech today laid out in very clear and broad strokes the difference between he and anyone he’ll go up against in 2020. Whether it’s immigration, the wall, free speech on college campuses, abortion, or capitalism over socialism, there was – and will be – plenty to differentiate himself from anyone the Democrats field.

…more than that, however, the President showed his sense of humor and ability to relate stories about his time as president by going off-script – something he did often. This in and of itself is going to make any Democrats job that much harder: if there’s one thing all the already-declared Democratic candidates share it’s their divisive tone and utter lack of sense of humor. You may not like anything Trump had to say today, but there was no doubt whatsoever that he was enjoying himself and feeding off the audience. The Trump rallies (which CPAC wasn’t) remain a unique part of the political landscape that no one can, or will, be able to match. And one can only expect, increasingly, more of the same as the 2020 campaign gets underway.

Anyone who watched his speech today would have a damned hard time reconciling the picture of Hitler incarnated being pushed by CNN and MSNBC relentlessly, day after day. One thing I’ve noticed is that this president is increasingly comfortable in these kinds of venues. He’s quick-witted, fast on his feet, knows how and when to point the dagger, and uses humor and his “outsider” personality to paint himself as a defender of the average American and against the Democrats and “The Swamp” of entrenched special and political interests. Unlike the Democrats, he’s not running against anything; he can paint a positive picture of being “for America” while the Democrats flail “against Trump and against capitalism”. If you think that’s a winning message for Democrats, you don’t know politics (think the GOP flailing against Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012), you’ve been watch way too much MSNBC and CNN, and I’ve got some swampland in Florida to sell you.

Speaking of swampland in Florida, I’ve stumbled upon a great writer in the tradition of John D. MacDonald, Randy Wayne White, and Wayne Stinnett. What’s different about Carl Hiaason is his writing style and ability to write with cynical irreverence and humor about Florida and its reputation as, to use Howie Carr‘s words, “a sun-shiney state for shady people.” His books are a breezy and fun read, with laugh-out-loud lines, and interesting characters and plot twists. I’m in the second book of his “Skink series” and it has been an enjoyable experience. Give him a try – you won’t be disappointed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:48 | Comments (0)

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