November 4, 2011

I guess this officially means technology has killed photography as an art. Chalk up another art form lost to the advances in technology. Is it good? Is it bad? Does it matter? I’m not sure. But I do know there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and technology seems to be committed come hell or high water to stamp out whatever vestiges of the human heart and sprit that made us, well, human in a variety of ways.

Look, I make my living in technology, but does everything have to be computerized? We have instruments that replace human musicians. I loved the Moog synthesizer as much as anyone in the late ’60s and ’70s, but now any idiot with or without talent can make music and sound like Beethoven or Lady Gaga. We now have cars that tell us how to park and when to brake and when you’re falling asleep and when you’re too drunk to drive. And I won’t even begin to discuss sexual satisfaction!

But it seems to me the classic struggle of man vs. machine is destined to wipe out every aspect of humanity that there might be left in us. I’m no prude who longs for the ’50s and ’60s (well, maybe a little!); I do think modernation is a good thing in some ways – especially when it comes to advances in medicine and healthcare technology. And just think of all the public service employees that Barack Obama and his corrupt cronies can’t hire and indoctrinate into their socialist mindset because of all the efficiencies of technology.

But excuse me if I say I’m just glad to be the age I am. I don’t want to live to be 100, and I defintely have no desire to be some young kid who’ll grow up in a world where his or her own humanity is virtually replaced in every way by technology. There ought to be room for the human spirit, creativity, imagination, and art and music that comes from the heart, not from some computer motherboard. Which is why I find myself gravitating to those things that I have no doubt technology could do for me but I prefer to do myself, like cooking and sitting out on the patio watching the palm trees and the stars, or feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, or meditating or praying or reading (real books, not from a Kindle), or playing bartender. The simple pleasures of life.

Once technology takes over those we’re all screwed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:31 | Comment (1)
October 5, 2011

OK folks, this is where things stand. My sincere apologies for how botched this whole conversion over to DreamHost has gone; most of it is due to the utter incompetence of the Blogs-About Hosting folks, who, if they had been half as responsive as they’ve been over the past couple of days, would not have lost themselves a client. But that’s water over the bridge. Here’s the status of things:

1. This post will not last when I re-point this website back over to DreamHost. You’ll notice we’re back to the 2010 Goodboys champs picture; that’s only so over the next few days I can get all my 2011 posts back intact over to the DreamHost servers.

2. There’s gonna be a “grand re-opening celebration” sometime next week when Goodboys Nation weblog is restored back to its full glory on DreamHost.

There’s lots to blog and talk about when I’m fully back. I am beyond distressed over how everything has gone. Looks like I’ll be building my readership back from zero when I first started this blog back in 2006. That’s OK, it is what it is.

tell your friends and fellow Goodboys Nation visitors I’ll be back sometime next week. Feel free to comment about any withdrawal symptoms you’ve been encountering during this strange time. 🙂

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:09 | Comment (1)
September 8, 2011

Not publishing anything of value tonight, I believe my blog is in the process of getting migrated over to DreamHost. Three quick comments:

On the Red Sox: how much longer will we put up with crappy managing just so Timmy Wakefield can get his 200th win? He sucks as a pitcher right now, and the pathetic attempts to get him # 200 are becoming embarrassing.

Watched the Republican debate tonight. While I don’t think you can say anyone truly “won” the debate, no one hurt themselves except Ron Paul, who is a total loon. Rick Santorum should consider dropping out, and there’s something about Jon Huntsman that makes my skin crawl. That being said, anyone up there tonight sounded like Thomas Jefferson compared to the blather we’re going to bet from Barack Hussein Obama tomorrow night. That’s going to be one angry, petulant Kenyan up there in front of the Tele-PrompTer tomorrow night, I guarantee you that.

Peyton Manning possibly out for the season? What’s up with that?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:28 | Comments (6)
September 7, 2011

Forget about tonight’s blowout of the Blue Jays, this is a team in deep trouble. Let’s take it from the top:

Starting pitching: You’ve got Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, sure, and that’s as good a 1-2 as any team has in baseball, but excuse me for thinking that you need four decent starters for the playoffs and (if you get there) the World Series, and the Sox have an awful rest of the rotation. I can’t watch John Lackey pitch – what GM Theo Epstein saw in this guy to give him a boatload of cash to pry him away from the Angels totally escapes me. He’s a glorified batting practice pitcher. Erik Bedard’s knee, which kept him out of a large portion of this season, is flaring up again (surprise!), Andrew Miller is not to be trusted under any circumstances, and don’t even get me started on Tim Wakefield. I don’t care that he needs one win to reach 200, he’s a four-inning pitcher who gets lit up as soon as the lineup sees him a second time around. If this is all the Sox have as rotation heading into the playoffs, expect an early exit, no matter who they play.

Bullpen: You’ve got Aceves, Bard, and Papelbon. The rest are pretty freakin’ useless as far as I can tell. Matt Albers had a great first half, but when the Orioles deem a pitcher worthy of release (the Orioles!) that should tell you something. Manager Terry Franocona has totally misused Dan Wheeler to the point where the guy has no confidence. And the rest of the bunch you can give away for a bag of balls in return. Do not get me started on Franklin Morales. Perhaps if you had a top of the rotation of Beckett-Lester-Clay Buchholz you could get away with this cast of characters, but with Buchholz out for the rest of the year, having only two dependable starters puts a lot of pressure on a bullpen. Especially this one.

Infield: I worry about shortstop – a lot. I’m no Jed Lowrie fan, and don’t quite understand Francona’s love of the guy. He’s nothing but potential, he’s afraid of going all-out for fear of getting hurt again, and he’s a lousy shortstop. So I guess it’s Marco Scutaro and pray like hell he doesn’t get hurt. First base (Adrian Gonzalez), second base (Dustin Pedroia) and third base (Kevin Youkilis) are rock solid, although I can’t help but think Youkilis is worn down from playing so many games at a demanding position like 3B. He looks sluggish to me. Pray none of these guys get hurt, or else we’re stuck with Lowrie.

Outfield: I don’t ever want to see J.D. Drew in a Red Sox uniform ever again. Ever. I’d play Josh Reddick for better or for worse the rest of the way, since he’s helped get us this far, and those are the cards we’ve been dealt. The less of Darnell McDonald I see the better I like it – the guy really can’t hit. Of course, CF Jacoby Ellsbury is having a MVP year both offensively and defensively. Which brings me to Carl Crawford. No one in Red Sox Nation – and I mean no one looked more forward to seeing him in a Red Sox uniform, as he absolutely killed us every year he was with Tampa Bay. But for at least this year the guy stinks. Takes pitches he should swing at, swings at piches he shouldn’t, and when he does it’s a horrible looking swing. He’s been late behind every fastball this year. He’s terrible and frustrating as all hell to watch, to the point where I won’t even watch him when he’s a bat. A huge disappointment.

Catching: A real bright spot this year. Except for that game two weeks ago when, after swinging at three straight crappy sliders in the dirt from Yankees reliever Boone Logan, I threatened to take up tequila again and toss my 55″ widescreen in the swimming pool, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been more than anyone ever could have hoped for as a starting catcher, both offensively and defensively. And captain Jason Varitek has been awesome as a once or twice a week starter. Between them, the Sox have as good a catching tandem as there is in the majors.

What I worry the most about these Sox is that they’ve been maddeningly inconsistent over the past few weeks, and I’m not sure why. Yesterday they got shut out by the Blue Jays, today they pounded the crap out of them, would anybody be truly surprised if they scored only one or two runs again tomorrow and lost? I wouldn’t. Crawford is the real problem in that lineup; manager Terry Francona has done everything he can to hide him, but you can’t hide ugly. If he was having anything close to the kind of seasons he had in Tampa Bay, the Sox would have at least 5-6 more wins – perhaps more. But I don’t see any hope for him, so I don’t know what the Sox can do except head into the post-season with the cards they’ve been dealt.

I wish I could say different, but I’m not very bullish on their chances.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comment (1)
September 6, 2011

Count me as in a foul mood as we head out of Labor Day into the fall months. Oh, not because of the prospect of Arizona winter – I can’t wait for that, although I’ll certainly miss the pool as it drops from piss warm to refreshing to bracing to “oh sh*t, that’s cold!” in the span of just several weeks’ time. No, I’m bearish about a bunch of other things:

I’m bearish about this country’s future when I hear those like me who really just want the federal government to gear back on its reckless spending habits and (gasp!) live within its means be threatened with physical harm by a top union goon who’s sharing the stage with the President of the United States without any reproach whatsoever.

I’m bearish about this country’s future when I hear those like me who really just want the federal government to gear back on its reckless spending habits and (gasp!) live within its means be called “barbarians” by the Vice-President of the United States.

Look, I expect the likes of those in the Congressional Black Caucus to use over-the-top political rhetoric and accuse the Tea Party of wanting to take the country back to the days of lynch mobs; they’re a bunch of obnoxious and ignorant racists to begin with. But I do expect the President and Vice-President (elected, BTW, to represent all the people of the United States, even those who hold political ideologies they disagree with) to conduct themselves in a way and manner consistent with their offices. Instead, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have revealed themselves to be nothing better than the obnoxious goons they share the stage with and support politically. It’s disgusting, reprehensible, and demeaning to the offices they hold.

Every time I think there’s no way the Obama administration can go any lower in terms of its rhetoric and competence, every day seems to bring a new floor. I mean, think about it – even if you’re not a conservative or Tea Party member – what good does this harsh tone and lack of civility accomplish? Is it just to rev up the union base of the Democratic Party? Is that what this is all about? Does the President and the Vice-President really think they help their own cause by accepting and taking such a strident tone towards Americans who simply share a different political ideology than they do? Is that what the Presidency has come to? If so, the Obama administration has hit a new low in its “hope and change” message from 2008.

It’s disgusting and demeaning to what the Presidency should be and symbolize. I’m bearish about this country because of what Barack Obama is doing to it. In my view, he’s playing the class warfare card and instigating actions that could have implications far beyond anything he can imagine. It’s dangerous politics and it’s not right. In fact, it’s downright scary.

And don’t get me started about the Red Sox, I’m very bearish about them as well. But I’ll write about my grievances with the Sox and GM Theo Epstein in another post.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:06 | Comments (0)
September 5, 2011

It’s Labor Day weekend and it’s still just as hot as ever: when you have air temps well over 100 and dew points in the low 50s it makes for mighty oppressive conditions. It’s been the hottest and driest summer we can remember out here. The monsoon season, which is now winding down, has been a huge disappointment – we’ve had lots of dust storms down here in the Valley of the Sun but precious little rain. We actually had a dust storm blow through here around 2 AM the other night that actually did bring some rain with it, but all that did was create splotches of mud all over the place. All the flowers in my pots have compressed the size of their leaves and foliage to conserve their use of water to the point where you can barely see them, and the grass, which I can normally keep green with two 7-minute intervals each day, has gotten crusty and in some places brown altogether. And the pool temperature has stayed stuck between 91 and 93 for the past three weeks. Unfortunately, the nights have been so warm during this heat wave that I just haven’t felt like using it.

Still, there are signs that the seasons are getting ready to change. The skies now feature the kind of less hazy, much clearer sheen of blue that you see before the onset of monsoon season, meaning we’re heading into that final stretch of blazing hot sun you get just before the heat breaks around the second week of October. You also see less people out and about – the folks around here are now past the tipping point of tolerance when it comes to the heat. We’ve been in it now for more than four months, and everybody just wants to be done with it. While the sun is still a blazer, its angle is a lot different, and the shadows of the lemon and lime trees against our east wall are much more apparent while I’m doing my afternoon work. Most especially, the first cases of Samuel Adams Octoberfest has shown up on the shelves at the local Fry’s. Picked up my first case on Saturday and quenched my thirst with one (OK, two) after cleaning the pool filter yesterday. Wish it could have been a little cooler (the temp was 110 at the time), but it’s my all-time favorite beer.

And there are the fall plans to start arranging for. Last year, it was re-designing the back patio – a lot of work but a lot of fun to see your design come true and look as good as you imagined it to be. This year, we’ll be having our house painted. Financially, we’d prefer to hold off for another year, but the wood frame above the stucco and under the roof is so weathered and cracked from the heat and sun we dare not let another Arizona summer have at it. I’ll be doing a brick border around the rocks that lie against our east wall, which I think will be nice – especially if I can get some grass to grow under the newly-pruned lemon and lime trees.

What have y’all got planned for your fall projects?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:25 | Comment (1)
September 4, 2011

One of the best days of my life. Make of my life what you will, but I’ll never forget last year’s Labor Day weekend. It is beyond precious to me.

Filed in: Treasure Hunt by The Great White Shank at 00:51 | Comments (2)
September 3, 2011

When you ask people who have had the opportunity and privilege to play bass who their favorite classic rock bassists are, you’re likely hear the names of Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Paul Jones, Carol Kaye, or John Entwhistle bandied about, and with good reason. For me, McCartney was the very best; it was his virtuoso playing throughout Abbey Road (especially here and here) that inspired me to learn to play bass.

An unsung favorite you rarely, if ever, hear about, and one of (at least in my mind) great rock bassists of all time was Chip Douglas. While you may not have ever heard of Douglas by name or reputation, without a doubt you’ve heard him play on any number of classic hits by The Turtles and, most especially, on The Monkees‘ classic albums. He had a very “busy”, jazz-like technique that really kept the beat jumping behind even the most straight 4/4 rhythms. His work on The Monkees’ albums Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones is some of the finest bass playing I’ve ever listened to.

Here are some samples of songs he’s played on I think you’ll enjoy.

From The Monkees:

“Listen To The Band”
“What Am I Doin’ Hangin’ Round?”
“Pleasant Valley Sunday”
“The Girl I Knew Somewhere”

From The Turtles:

“Happy Together”
“She’d Rather Be With Me”

…and my favorite (just listen for how Douglas’ bass line drives the chorus): Elenore. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs. Don’t forget to play this one loud and by all means, sing along!

But I’m not the only one who respects Douglas’ technique. Check out this guy; dude has got it down pure. He’s playing along to “Sunny Girlfriend” from Headquarters. God, I wish I could play bass like that!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (0)
September 2, 2011

Rob over at CrabAppleLane Blog (a.k.a. “the blogging bodhisattva”) has a good post about the return of Dick Cheney with his book “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir”. On most issues involving politics you’re likely to find Rob and me on opposite sides, but he hit the nail on the head this time when he wrote:

There was a time I liked him. Loose cannon, hypocrite, and always funny with his quips. I think he’s poisonous now. Poisonous to his party, poisonous to his cause (The war on terror), and poisonous to his former boss. Someone should tell him his service is no longer needed.

Couldn’t agree with Rob more there. We’re in a time right now where politics is so divisive and so negative, and I believe Cheney has a lot to do with that. I write often about the arrogance of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, but Cheney’s a Republican example of the same kind of arrogance – the arrogance of power and the idea that Washington (and in his case, the Bush White House) knows best.

Most certainly, the buck stops at the desk of the President, and I have no doubt that President Bush was the one making the decisions when it came to the “war on terror”; in that way, I completely disagree with the liberal, loony left who saw Cheney as some Darth Vader character pulling the strings for a dunce of a president. But there’s little doubt that Bush respected Cheney’s opinion greatly, and that Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were the hawks that led W to take the “war on terror” to the level and involvement that it did (and, to Barack Obama’s detriment, still does).

I understand the reasons for going into Afghanistan in the first place after 9/11, but after we crushed the Taliban we should have left it at that – it would have sent a powerful message to the radical Islamic fundamentalists of the world that you mess around with the USA, you’re gonna get hurt, immediately and badly. But staying around to nation build was an ill-conceived idea, and we’re still paying for it in blood, dollars, and prestige nearly ten years later.

With Iraq, I understand the whole WMD issue and Saddam Hussein as a “grave threat” and what Bush might have been thinking about when he chose to go in – after all, he had 9/11 happen on his watch and was determined that it not happen again. I get that. But still, it was flawed intelligence, and I have to think that we could have waited Hussein out longer and more diplomatically until a time when (or if) he made any kind of real threatening moves, then smash him fast and hard just like with the Taliban. Instead, we got ourselves into another protracted engagement, and to what purpose?

In all of this, I think Cheney was a main mover and shaker, and it’s because of him to a great extent that we’re still in the Middle East, involved the messes we’ve created for ourselves. Cheney is a huge proponent of executive power, but that power cuts both ways. We’re seeing the incredible expansion of executive power under President Obama domestically for all the wrong reasons (i.e., the federal government knows best); Cheney exhibits that same flawed judgment in his defense of the Bush White House’s use of executive power in the “war on terror”.

This country is so divided right now, and the politics are so poisonous; the re-emergence of Dick Cheney on the scene does nothing to enhave and improve the dialogue. Time to say “goodnight, Dick”.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:12 | Comments (0)
September 1, 2011

abita A big N’Awlins “thank you” goes out top my blogger bud Rob at CrabAppleLane Blog who helped me through the problems with the website yesterday. From what I can gather, it would appear my present hosting vendor Blogs-About Hosting is going through its final death throes, cleaning up websites they used to host that have since gone defunct and directing interested parties to Blogrolling.com. Rob helped identify a “Blogs-About Buddies” script that was causing the problem and provided the solution. Too bad for them, Goodboys Nation is still alive, and plans to be alive for as long as y’all will have me (or my interest wanes, whichever comes first!). 🙂

Rob, I owe you an icy-cold Abita Amber at Liuzza’s and a shrimp po-boy when Tracey and I visit New Orleans next year (God willing!). You’re a good friend and a real blogging bodhisattva. Thank you.

I’m not sure how available Goodboys Nation will be over the next week, as the good folks at DreamHost are presently figuring out how to make the conversion to their hosting venue as pain-free as possible. We’ll see. I’ll keep y’all posted. Thanks for all the e-mails expressing your concerns.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:11 | Comment (1)

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