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)
February 26, 2019

I’m just so glad the 2020 Democratic candidates are so down to earth. God help us.

Not sure I’d ever want to hotel at NYC’s JFK Airport, but if I did here is where I’d want to stay. Very, very cool.

As long as it’s not used to transport illegals to the southern border I’m more than OK with this. Although I have to admit, the older I get the more my tastes are switching from tequila to rum.

True. Once the party of the middle-class, blue-collar union worker, the liberal left and the Democratic Party are now the party of the east coast Beltway and west coast Hollywood elites:

What this shows is the extent to which Democrats have become the party of wealthy elites, including Hollywood celebrities, whereas Republicans represent the Middle American values of people in places like Covington. It’s easy for someone like Alyssa Milano to hurls insults at Catholic boys from Kentucky, because she’s never been to Covington and none of her friends in Hollywood wear MAGA hats. She hates everyone who voted for Trump, all 62.9 million of them, and this blind hatred of Republicans defines the current liberal worldview. Anyone who’s looked at the map of the 2016 election results can see how Democrats are isolated, living in like-minded enclaves. Of the 65.8 million votes Clinton won in 2016, more than a third of them, about 22.5 million, came from just six states (California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia). The post-election boast that Clinton won the popular vote rests entirely on the lopsided majorities she got in California (a margin of about 4.3 million) and New York (by a margin of 1.7 million). It’s tautological to say that, in the places where most liberals live, most people are liberal, but the geographical concentration of Democrat voters is such that few of them actually know anything about the people who vote Republican. To liberals, therefore, those red hats with the “Make America Great Again” slogan symbolize a distant and alien tribe, and everything the liberal sees on his favorite cable-news outlets, CNN and MSNBC, tells him to hate the MAGA tribe.

If the 2020 election truly comes down to the elites and everyone else, the Democrats will get swamped.

Social-justice activists destroying a knitting blog? Yes really:

Karen Templer surrendered to her accusers and, although some of her critics remain adamant that she has not done enough for diversity, she seems to have been accepted back in the clique of “BIPOC knitter friendly” knitting activists. ”I think perhaps the original intent of this discussion has been hijacked in an effort to attack and accuse people who disagree with the methods of implementing change,” Tusken told me in an email. “This debate has caused a lot of division, but the divide isn’t between racists and non-racists. It is between those who agree and those who disagree with the bullying, harassment, and virtue-signalling tactics currently being used to solve the problem.” She says she has received support from many well-known names in the knitting industry. Of her accusers, Tusken said: “I have known for a long time that the knitting community wasn’t as supportive and loving as everyone claimed. In reality there are strong cliques and it can be difficult to fit in. There have been many times I’ve had to keep my mouth shut due to fear of something like this happening. I have been called a ‘hateful racist POS [piece of shit].’ But this didn’t hurt nearly as bad as being called a horrible person and publicly denounced by ‘friends’ who I have met in person and built relationships with.” She was even accused of being a neo-Nazi because she enjoys drinking Guinness. But as incongruous as cruelty and knitting might seem, this is no laughing matter. People’s livelihoods are being credibly threatened by this kind of behaviour. “You can be bullied and destroyed,” Tusken told me.

Read the whole thing if you want to be astonished at the “language patrol” that seems to permeate every aspect of social media life. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

When everything becomes political:

I once posted something about how men and women were different and had barely time to blink before someone labeled the post transphobic (no, seriously, explain this one to me: if there is no difference, how come there are trans people? How can you be a male trapped in a female body or vice-versa if, in fact, the sexes are exactly the same except for minor external stuff? What is the whole point, even?).

You know, there was a time when I enjoyed the give-and-take of talking politics with my friends, but then it started to get personal, to the point where I felt like I was having to defend myself personally. After that, it was, like, “OK, no more.” So now it’s over and out. There actually was a time when in social company one never discussed politics or religion. Given what things are like today, I think that was wise. Now, of course, the toothpaste is out of the tube and it’s never going back again. ‘Tis the pity.

Liberalism is a mental disorder, example# 1,210,317. I can almost hear Rodney Dangerfield offering up that classic line from Caddyshack: “…looks good on you, though!” What a moron.

Liberalism is a mental disorder, example# 1,210,318. What a sicko. Where do these people come from??

Liberalism is a mental disorder, example #1,210,319. I mean, has this loon been watching his own “news” outlet the past two years?? But I guess that’s what now counts for intelligent, objective opinion at CNN these days. Lemme tell you something: anyone who spends any length of time watching CNN ought to get their mental health checked. Believe me, you really don’t want to become example# 1,210,320.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 04:31 | Comments (0)
February 25, 2019

Yes, I’m back to posting again – it’s just that, my trip back to Massachusetts and all, I’m still trying to get my act together.

Here’s a reassuring pic to start off the week:

But my trip back to Massachusetts was great. Dad is doing great, I still love-love-love the retirement community he’s living in (even if he says the food could be better), and I had a chance to meet with friends.

Had dinner with a couple of my Goodboys pals at La Hacienda del Rio in Nashua, New Hampshire. While it’s true you can get better Mexican food at a lot of places, their “Almost Ultimate” Margarita is damned tough to beat:

And, I was fortunate to miss any bad weather that could have complicated my travel plans. But there was no question it was February, as the below pic taken outside my dad’s digs shows:

Brrr. Even though the “Arizona winter” here in the Valley of the Sun has been nothing to right home about, with lots of clouds, cool weather and more rain than normal – still, I like the look of this picture better:

While I was gone the big news about New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft getting caught up in a prostitution sting was everywhere. On the flight back to Phoenix I’m sitting next to an elderly couple, and we got to talking. At some point the whole Robert Kraft thing came up. Hilarity ensued:

He: I think it’s a disgrace what Kraft has brought down on the Patriots organization. Sure he’s rich and he’s single, but the Patriots should be celebrating a Super Bowl, not having to deal with this.

Me: Just goes to show, not matter how old you are it’s all about the chicks. It’s ALL about the chicks.

His wife: Do you really believe that? Even at your age?

Me (deflecting the obvious slight): I’m married, I’m not dead.

No further words were spoken.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:15 | Comments (0)
February 18, 2019

…kicking a week off where I’ll be traveling back to Massachusetts for the equivalent “chew and screw” starting with a Tuesday night red-eye and a three-night stay. I’ll be back in the (hopefully) sunny confines of the Valley of the Sun (although it hasn’t been much of an “Arizona winter” this year!) Saturday night and then back to working on taxes next Sunday.

I read this and couldn’t believe my eyes. Chris Berman??? That blow-hard helping to call Red Sox games this year? Are you kidding me? Why, the ghosts of (Ned) Martin and (Jim) Woods must be rolling in their graves.

Along those same lines, if there’s a San Diego Padres game on the MLB Network being called by the San Diego announcers, I’ll watch just to hear former Sox announcer Don Orsillo call a game. Even with a new team and a different partner he’s still a joy to listen to. He’s just perfect for the laid-back pace of a ballgame.

I GUARANTEE you won’t read anything as concise and accurate in the mainstream media as this series of tweets by the usually spot-on Larry Schweikart. The Democrats don’t know it yet, but they got played by the White House over the recent deal and national emergency declaration signed by the President.

…how do I know that? When you’ve got like likes of “conservative” screed Ann Coulter and the Washington Post on the same side of Trump’s decision. Whoever put this plan together at the White House is likely a genius, but let’s just see how this all plays out, shall we?

BTW, I used to like Coulter a lot but nowadays she’s the political analyst equivalent of Madonna (or Chris Berman, for that matter) – the only thing she’s interested in is being heard and published. She’s always looking for ways she can get herself quoted by the usual Beltway media outlets, and that means being “controversial”, even it means being a patsy for the national mainstream media. Most conservatives I interact with stopped paying attention to her a long time ago; she’s become a parody of herself.

Speaking of the wall, I really don’t think – no matter what Trump does and how this national declaration plays out – their stand on this issue paints the Democrats in a positive light. Think about it: in just a few short weeks they’ve moved all the way from “San Fran Nan” Pelosi not willing to go higher than a single dollar for new wall construction to tearing down the wall either partially or completely. Are these people nuts? What voters (beyond, of course, their own rabid, frothing anti-America base) do they actually believe would support such an irrational political stand?

Grab the popcorn, this is gonna get interesting.

Just another reminder why the whole “Russia collusion” thing was a useful distraction to just how bad things are at the FBI. The whole organization needs to be disbanded and salted over as a stain on the American intelligence community. Efram Zimbalist, Jr. must be turning over in his grave.

Sorry, Chris Sale, after last year’s tightrope ride me and my heart are willing to give another Red Sox reliever a shot at being closer. Just as long as it’s not Heath Hembree. Hey, if at the end of spring training nothing is working and Craig Kimbrel hasn’t signed with anyone, bring him back on a one-year deal. Winner winner chicken dinner!

If this is what counted for news during the NBA’s All-Star weekend I guess I’m just too old to understand. Or care.

…ditto, I guess, when it comes to “orbiting”. Why, back in my day “orbiting” meant riding my bike an hour to and from the street where the girl I was infatuated with at that time lived. How times have changed, and not for the better.

R.I.P. Patrick Caddell, veteran pollster of the political wars. Always liked him, seemed a man of unusual sanity in an insane business.

Ditto Bruno Ganz, the actor who starred in “Downfall”. He may be gone but the hundreds of YouTube video Hitler rants will remain for posterity. Here’s one of my favorites. May he rest in peace.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:34 | Comments (0)
February 16, 2019

This weekend will be spent inside working on taxes preparation. But that doesn’t mean I will remain silent.

Because I won’t.

As a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham, here’s hoping for a speedy and successful recovery. His music has meant so much to me over the years, so he’s obviously in my thoughts and prayers.

Gee, it’s hard to see all your musical heroes grow old.

I don’t think PGA Tour fave Matt Kuchar’s reputation is going to take much of a hit because of this, but on the surface it just seems all so unnecessary. I mean, you win a golf tournament, you know what the customary cut is for caddies, and you not only go cheap on him but you basically tell him, “a deal’s a deal”, no matter that you just bagged a 1.3 mil payout? I don’t think it was necessarily insensitive, but it sure seems to shine a light into the guy’s soul. It sure doesn’t paint “Kooooooooch!” in a very good light.

I’ve always thought the Rolling Stones make this list. But in my view the #1 most overrated musical artist of all time has to be Madonna. She was a fraud from day one, disguising her lack of singing ability with layers of synth, and employing her “edgy girl” persona into a brand simply by seeing how many people she could offend, since being offensive was a sure way to stay in the news. She was never even that attractive, let alone hot.

Today’s Democratic Party is a clown show. It truly is the inmates running the asylum. These people would be considered just a bunch of no-talent clowns if they hadn’t won back the House and weren’t backed by a mainstream media that will never touch them, no matter how outrageous their behavior is.

…but what can one expect from a party whose motto could be, “We’ll keep your baby comfortable while you and your doctor decide whether or not to just let it die.”

Yep, the Democrats have had themselves quite a couple of months. And this doesn’t even mention the fiasco happening in Virginia. Fact is, the Dems are a clusterf**k from top to bottom.

If socialist babe Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio is really going to do a 15-city “Green New Deal Tour” she better not be traveling by the same mode of transportation her plan ultimately wants to get rid of. If she does (which, of course, she will) she’s a hypocrite of the highest order.

…but I’m guessing folks are kind of starting to figure that out already.

…speaking of AOC, the 25,000 folks who would have gotten well-paying jobs and help fill all those local and state coffers with tax revenue thank you (not!) for being the job-killing socialist bi**h she’s turning out to be:

The main quality of the progressive agenda being pushed by Ocasio-Cortez is knee-jerk nihilism — the unthinking destruction of the status quo for destruction’s own sake. Even the win over Amazon is more evidence of progressivism’s nihilism than its sustainability. Ocasio-Cortez may be dancing on the grave of 25,000 jobs in Queens, but even her fellow Democrats in New York understand what actually happened. She didn’t save New Yorkers tax money — she likely cost them millions in tax revenue.

I’m actually starting to think there will be plans afoot for the Democrats to cleanse their party of AOC and her rabid, frothing anti-Semite pals Ilham Omar and Rashida Tlaib next election go-round.

…if you think “San Fran Nan” Pelosi is going to allow them to become the new face of the Democratic Party you don’t know Speaker Pelosi. Even she has to know these loons are going to make President Trump’s bid for re-election that much easier.

…because once you’ve lost a leftist like Cher, you know you’ve gone too far.

A final word on Ocasio-Cortez: now here’s a movement I could get behind.

Did I say she’s cute?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:02 | Comments (0)
February 11, 2019

It’s been a chilly and gray January and February here in the Valley of the Sun, and I was looking for some music to play while working that would fill the background with the sounds of sunnier and warmer climes. Sure, I already had my incredible and legendary “Tropical Breezes” collection, but I wanted something a little looser and fancy free, and stumbled upon the idea of creating a subset of “Breezes” that would be something you’d hear if you were on a beach in sunny south Florida or the Caribbean and kickin’ back with a boat drink or a cooler of Red Stripes. Hence my new music collection, “Caribbean Beach Party”!

It was just like making a tropical drink – a few parts this, a few parts that, with a little of the unknown in between. I started with the basic essentials: all the Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and steel drum music that was already part of “Tropical Breezes”. So far, so good (in fact, it was the mellow side of JB and steel drum music that formed the basis of the old Dish Network Tropical Breezes channel that gave me the idea of the music collection to begin with. So here is what I started with in terms of artists:

Jimmy Buffett
Kenny Chesney
Alfred St. John Trinidad & Tobago Steelband
Bob Lyons (steel drum artist)
Bob Marley & the Wailers
Doug Walker (steel drum artist)
Greg McDonald (steel drum artist)
Jamaican Steel Band
Jason Roseman (steel drum artist)
Kent Arnsberger (steel drum artist)
Larry Hall (steel drum artist)
Raggae Beat
Robert Symons (steel drum artist)
Steel Tropics
Steelasophical
Tropics Steel Drum Band

Which, BTW, would be sufficient in and of its own to warm the bones of the most rugged seafaring Gloucester fisherman running out a winter nor’easter on the Grand Banks. But I knew that after a time – given the fact these artists and their songs were already familiar – it would get a little stale. Enter the music of Danny Morgan and Eric Stone.

I was introduced to the music of both these musicians not from hearing them live, but, interestingly enough, through the Wayne Stinnett‘s Jesse McDermitt series of Caribbean action adventure books. It would be harsh (not to mention, insulting) to call them Jimmy Buffett wannabees; as artists they appear to be known pretty much to the South Florida crowd with their own vibe and muse that makes their sound more regional than national. This is no criticism in any way – in both cases they’re good at what they do, and they make music perfect for poolside, barside, and boat cruising anywhere you want to put it. It’s hard to characterize their music, but I call it “island time”, with Stone’s music having a bit more of a nautical flavor.

Here a couple of samples by Danny and Eric to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

So after adding The contents of Morgan’s Captiva Moon, Beach Life, and It’s Always Summer, and Stone’s Boatsongs #1, #2, and #3, I found a couple of other steel bands that warranted inclusion: the Pirates of the Caribbean Steel Band (great name, huh?) and the Island Caribbean Steel Drum Band. Sufficiently steel, but just a little different enough from the others to warrant their inclusion and enhance the collection.

I’m telling ya, folks, you can’t go wrong with this collection! Just six payments of $29.95… just kidding. I’m guessing all or most of this stuff is available on iTunes and Amazon Music, and I guarantee it won’t be a waste of your time. Sitting by the pool or blaring it on your boat, it will be purrrrrrfect for the summer months that – believe it or not – are just around the corner.

Now pass me one of those Red Stripes, will ya?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:46 | Comments (0)
February 9, 2019

This weekend is going to be a working one, unfortunately, but I’m actually going to try and hit a small bucket of balls to see if the hand feels any different than it did a few weeks ago. In the meantime…

just another reason to read my post from yesterday.

It’s one thing for some leftist Washington think-tank to produce a completely batshit crazy, out-of-their-friggin’-minds proposal for something as amorphous as climate change. But the fact that media darling and cute-as-a-button socialist like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez actually believes this kind of bullshit begs credulity. No wonder House Speaker “San Fran Nan” Pelosi has, without any shred of doubt or hesitation, put the kibosh on it. Tells you exactly what her opinion of the radical socialist loon faction in her party is.

You want to know the truth? In some ways I feel bad for Speaker Pelosi. She’s an old-timey, beyond corrupt pol of the highest order, but she’s no dummy – unlike the cast of freshman (can I say that?) congresswomen who are as dumb as a rock.

…that being said, Friday’s supposed “grilling” of Assistant AG Matt Whittaker by the Democrats shows them to be nothing but a bunch of angry, petty, and obnoxious morons. How these people even got elected is beyond me. They wouldn’t know how to fart and chew gum at the same time.

Count me as one wanting to put the brakes on the political lynching of Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. I know why the Democrats are doing it – this way they can claim the high road when politically lynching the next Republican who finds himself in the same situation – but to me this is no different than what the Dems tried to do to Justice Kavanaugh and equally as wrong. Mr. Fairfax deserves the right and dignity of due process as any man, and as far as I’m concerned he’s innocent until proven guilty. This whole tearing down of political figures simply on the word of someone, or as a result of someone’s nose getting out of joint out of political correctness, has to stop. Were I any of the Democratic leaders of Virginia involved in the current controversy I’d tell everyone to f**k off.

Didn’t I tell you this kind of thing and this kind of thing was going to happen? As I mentioned in this post, the mainstream media has already decided on Kamala “Mattress” Harris as their fave, and they’re going to try and destroy anyone they think is going to get close to her. If they treat any of her challengers with kid gloves (like Elizabeth “Fauxcahantus” Warren, whose candidacy is imploding before our very eyes) it’s because they know they don’t have a chance. Just wait, Joe Biden – you don’t know what’s about to hit you.

The only reason why Rick Santorum is even being quoted these days is because the mainstream media will pick up any comment any Republican might say that is critical of President Trump in any way. In Santorum’s case, I lost all respect for him after he repeatedly invoked his special-needs daughter in just about every question asked of him during his failed presidential run. Sebastian Gorka is right – the guy’s a phony.

Mark my words: if you don’t think this is going to be a major campaign issue come 2020, you’re dreaming. The Democrats are going to be painted as the supporters of infanticide that they are. And it’s about time: the technology is already there, and it shows third-trimester abortions are a disgusting, immoral, and disgraceful practice. But yep, it’s all about “women’s rights”, right?

…unless, of course, the baby is female.

It’s pretty obvious that in Meghan McCain’s case the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. She’s just like her old man – a vile, vindictive, and petty human being whose 15 minutes of fame were up a long time ago. Hey Meghan, if you can find a rock big enough to cover you, go crawl under it.

But enough of politics.

That was an incredibly spooky Dead Files episode the other night, involving the Santa Fe prison where the 1980 riot took place. It was one of their best. I’m thinking about asking Amy and Steve to do an episode on my missing golf game.

Here’s hoping this is true and Great White Shank fave Paula “The Pink Panther” Creamer can find her way back to playing good golf and the LPGA winner’s circle. A pretty girl with an equally-pretty golf swing.

I always knew Rocco Mediate to be Goodboys material.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:42 | Comments (0)

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