April 9, 2016

Some kind of weather-dude I am: there I was last week thinking that we’d seen the last of our rain for this spring until the monsoon comes in July, but then we got a good soaking on Thursday night, could get another one tomorrow, and then another one by the end of next week. This has sure been a strange year, weather-wise. Thanks, El Nino.

…and speaking of the weather, the Masters has lived up to its billing as just about everyone’s favorite tournament to watch with the winds making Augusta National quite the stern test for just about everyone. While my pick Jason Day is five back I still think he’s gonna be there in the end if he can get that occasional yank out of his irons. The wind made Phil Mickelson miserable yesterday – he looked as bad as I’ve ever seen him – and he was sent packing early. But the saddest sight I’ve seen during all the coverage is Arnold Palmer looking rather feeble and every bit his age during the ceremonial start on Thursday. Aging sucks, and no one – not even kings – are immune.

The Red Sox better get their starting pitching after David Price sorted out pronto, or it’s gonna be a short ride for manager John Farrell. You gotta hand it to their offense keeping them in the games so far, and I have to admit Hanley Ramirez doesn’t look bad at first base. And after watching a couple of games I’ll grudgingly admit Dave O’Brien is doing a creditable job as Don Orsillo’s replacement. Might end up getting that DirecTV MLB Extra Innings package after all….

He’s got an odd approach to his game and his swing, but put me down as someone who likes the cut of amateur, soon-to-turn-pro Bryson deChambeau’s jib. He’s gonna be a star, for sure, and his obvious love of the game and the charisma he brings to it makes him a player to watch. I hope he’s a captain’s pick on this year’s Ryder Cup team.

Bruce Springsteen has become a joke, a parody of everything the modern-day liberal left is. I wonder what staunch Democrats like JFK and LBJ would think about a law that simply requires transgendered people to use the bathroom of the gender they were born with.

If Donald Trump’s campaign did something like this they’d be talking about it 24/7 on CNN and FOX News.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 09:46 | Comments (0)
April 7, 2016

Not the punk band, but the scene I’m predicting we’ll be seeing come Sunday afternoon in the Butler Cabin at Augusta National when 2015 winner Jordan Spieth slips the green jacket onto Jason Day as the latest Masters champion. My view: Day not just has the entire package (just about everyone agrees on that, you’re not going to be #1 in the world if you don’t!), but he’s really ramped up his iron and short game play over the past year – something he’s missed having previously at Augusta.

So that’s my prediction and I’m sticking with it: Jason Day for the win.

Former Masters champs to keep an eye on this year: Zach Johnson (there’s something about the guy I just can’t take to, but you can’t deny the guy’s intensity and skill with his irons), Adam Scott, and Phil Mickelson. Lots of folks like Justin Rose, not me. Nor do I like Spieth nor Dustin Johnson (even though I’d love to see DJ win his first major at Augusta). And no on Rory McIlroy, who has all the talent in the world but someone I’ve come to think is kind of immature and a head case. Anyone who dumps the likes of long-time gal pal and fiancée Caroline Wozniacki (by phone, no less!) has bigger issues than what his putting stroke looks like.

My dark horse pick: Rafael Cabrera-Bello. Would be great to see another Spaniard pick up a green jacket.

Can’t wait to watch the television coverage, even if it starts with the bozos on ESPN today and tomorrow. But when Jim Nantz intones his hokey but familiar, “Hello, friends” on Saturday you can bet I’ll be watching along with the rest of the golf world. Sure Nick Faldo will be alongside him, but that will just remind me of the late, great Ken Venturi. It’s all part of what the Masters is about: the past, the present, the future.

Next to Goodboys Invitational week (say, is that happening this year, Exec-Comm?), it’s the best week of the golf year for me.

Queue the music!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 09:27 | Comments (0)
April 6, 2016

Well, it turns out the Wisconsin primaries have upset the applecart on both sides of the national political aisle. All of a sudden Donald Trump is fighting for his political (what there ever was of it, anyways) life after being smacked by Ted Cruz. And just as interestingly, Hillary Clinton has now lost six of the last seven primaries to that young whippersnapper Bernie Sanders – OK, he’s not young but he is a whippersnapper! – whose campaign, once akin to a chihuahua nipping at Madame Secretary’s cankles, has now become something of a pit bull tearing at one of her gawdawful pantsuits.

If you’re a political junkie it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. And the fact is, thing are only starting to get interesting.

On the Republican side, all the attention – rightly so – is now shifting to Ted Cruz, but don’t pay any attention to that. If Trump’s biggest problem is that it’s becoming more unlikely by the day that he can get to that magic number of 1,237 delegates that would assure him of an uncontested, first-ballot nomination at the GOP convention in Cleveland, the fact is Cruz has that same problem as well. And I can assure you right now, no one is happier about the results last night than GOP chair Reince Priebus, who knows pretty darned well that the Party apparatus is now going to play a YUUUGE role in choosing the eventual nominee. The GOP establishment and their big-money donors also have reason to be ecstatic this morning, for they accomplished perfectly what they knew they needed to do after Trump’s victories in February and March, which was to bring every weapon they had (including Cruz’s campaign) to bear on and obliterate Trump in a massive media barrage of negativity fueled by the Trump’s campaign missteps on any number of fronts.

Cruz can say all he wants that he’s now the leading candidate for the GOP nomination, but you can bet the GOP establishment doesn’t want anything to do with him either – he was always just going to be one of the tools at their disposal to make sure Trump got taken out. The campaign to watch now is that annoying “I’m just a happy-go-lucky, son of a mailman” John Kasich, who has actually played his cards pretty well to this point, staying above the Trump/Cruz fray and doing what he needed to do, which was win the Ohio GOP primary. Consider this: if Trump’s campaign continues to deflate ahead of the big upcoming GOP state primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, and California, and if Kasich can make a good showing and show even a little bit of momentum going into the GOP convention, that cagey mailman’s son would make a perfect candidate that the GOP (at least theoretically) could coalesce around. The GOP leaders could also point out the fact that the Cruz / Trump battle has been so acrimonious and bruising that neither of their supporters would ever support the other in a general election. Given all this, it is hard not see a scenario where the governor of the very state where the GOP convention is held is triumphantly rolled out as a mainstream candidate everyone can support, a candidate who could compete well against Democrats in a way that neither Trump nor Cruz could.

Listen, y’all, to The Great White Shank: keep an eye on Kasich.

On the Democratic side, one can only wonder what Hillary Clinton and the Party establishment (re: Dem party chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz) is thinking this morning. Heck, just a few weeks ago Hillary was picking the colors of the Oval Office drapes! If you believed the mainstream media (which I didn’t) they had the perfect candidate to run against their perfect opponent (Trump), and it was going to be a triumphant coronation at the Democratic convention. But then the inevitable happened: voters got to see what Hillary Clinton was really like, both as a person and as a candidate. And, just like in 2008, the more they saw, the more they recoiled in revulsion – hence, the rise of the more likeable and charismatic Sanders. Can “the Bern” really pull this thing off? Well, as Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey accurately points out, he doesn’t really have to:

But Bernie doesn’t really have to catch Hillary. All he needs to do is keep her from reaching 2,383 delegates without the superdelegates to hold the threat of a contested convention over her head. If that happens — or even if it comes close to happening — then Democrats really have to ask themselves why they put all of their electoral eggs in the Clintons’ basket. If she can’t beat a walkover like Bernie, Hillary will be in deep trouble in a general election, unless Republicans hand it to her in their own contested convention.

Word is that Hillary is now going to go big negative on Bernie. Big mistake. Unlike Republicans, who have no qualms about circular firing squads, Democrat and liberal voters don’t really like that kind of thing, and Hillary going negative will simply reinforce every suspicion they have about both her and the Clintons in general.

I also think there’s a real wild-card now in play here. As long as Hillary was assured of being the Party’s eventual nominee you knew damned well that no one was ever going to indict her for the e-mail scandal that is still very much out there and very much in play. Now that Hillary’s nomination is anything but assured, might this be the tipping point where the Obama White House tells the Justice Department to proceed with whatever the FBI recommends in terms of action? Might the following scenario now start to play out? Stories start being leaked about the likelihood of Clinton being indicted. More, even more damaging e-mails are leaked. The Sanders campaign picks up even more steam, and supporters start fleeing Clinton’s campaign in droves. Clinton, if not indicted, receives at the very least a severe reprimand for her involvement in the e-mail scandal. At the Democratic convention neither Clinton nor Sanders has enough delegates for a first-ballot nomination, so the Party coalesces around their own compromise candidate, Joe Biden, who with Elizabeth Warren, becomes the Democratic ticket.

Thus come the fall you have Biden and Kasich as their respective Party nominees, rendering the entire last two years a huge waste of time, money, and effort on everyone’s part.

Now wouldn’t that be something?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 09:11 | Comments (0)
April 4, 2016

Even though it’s Masters week, it’s also the start of the 2016 Major League Baseball season. Every year at this time there’s a big debate going on in my head: does this year’s Red Sox team warrant enough promise in my head to make me purchase the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV? I’ve thought about it a lot and watched more than a few Spring Training games on NESN and have made the decision.

Nah.

I have to say that I share the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley pessimism when it comes to this year’s team. Yes, they have David Price up front and Craig Kimbrel as closer, but you’ll excuse me if the likes of Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, and Rick Porcello aren’t going to strike fear into any opposition. Eduardo Rodriguez is a keeper when he’s back, and I’m OK with Stephen Wright staying with the team as an occasional starter and occasional long reliever – especially since I think one of three starters I mentioned above is gonna lose their spot in the rotation sooner or later. My bet is on Porcello – he stinks. The bullpen, blah. The infield has a lot of ifs: if Hanley Ramiriez can handle first base. If Dustin Pedroia can stay healthy. If Xander Bogearts can keep improving. But I don’t care what you say – third base is a disaster no matter whether Travis Shaw or Pablo “Fat Pig” Sandoval play there. The same with left field – why can’t the Sox get a decent left fielder? Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Mookie Betts will be OK but I just have a feeling…

I guess more than anything, I see manager John Farrell as a downer. I can’t stand to watch him manage. I can’t stand to listen to that monotone. I can’t stand the corporate line that so-in-so is “putting in his work as we expect him to”. It’s annoying. More than anything else, he carries the air of dead man walking, like that restaurant down the street that has had four previous incarnations in the past five years. No enthusiasm. No passion. I think he already knows he’s gone by the middle of June.

But the final kicker was the NESN broadcast team. I know it was just Spring Training, but I miss Don Orsillo’s measured tones in the play-by-play role. The new guys they have (and that includes long-time color man Jerry Remy, who seems to me to be mailing it in these days) never shut up. It’s really gotten obnoxious in in the NESN broadcast booth, and it’s a real turn-off.

So I’ll follow the Sox whenever I can on the MLB Network and have to be satisfied with that. Anyways, here are my picks (for what they’re worth) for the 2016 season:

Red Sox: 82 wins, 3rd place AL East.

AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Royals
AL West: Texas
Wild Card: Twins, Astros

NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Giants
NL Wild Card: Cardinals, Dodgers

AL Champions: Royals
NL Champions: Cardinals
World Series Champions: Cardinals

Play ball!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 21:39 | Comments (2)
April 3, 2016

A few thoughts and comments following a hectic week of business travel and just trying to get over this bout of bronchitis. It’ll be back to the quack again tomorrow to see what the next steps are.

Watching Jason Day beat the field in the WGC-Dell Match Play shows just how much of a force he could be in all the majors this year. He’s long, he’s talented around the greens, and he’s cultivated quite the ability to step on the necks of opponents (in this case, Louis Oosthuizen) whenever a mistake opens the door of opportunity.

Speaking of which, Masters Week begins tomorrow. You’ve got prior winners like Adam Scott winning the last two events on the Florida Swing, Bubba Watson, who I believe could win at Augusta any time he can keep the demons at bay, and Jordan Spieth, who says his game is thisclose. Phil Mickelson only needs to catch lightning in a bottle as Jack did in ’86. And then there are the talented ones looking to get their first green jacket: Day, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, and a host of unknown wannabes just looking to take the next step. It ought to be a great week.

Sitting at the airport bar on Friday, I’m watching every single segment on CNN just pulverizing Donald Trump. Trump wants to nuke Europe! Trump wants to jail women who have abortions! Trump is a disaster waiting to happen! And then I see endless stories about how Trump has zero popularity among women and would lose big against Hillary Clinton in the general election. As a long-time observer of the mainstream media, none of this passes the sniff test. Believe you me, if the Beltway / media folks didn’t think Trump was a threat to them you wouldn’t hear a peep.

…but there’s no doubt Trump’s campaign finally had a bad week. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. That interview with Chris Matthews was a disaster. And I’m surprised someone of his supposed media-savvy abilities couldn’t see that coming. Trump should have known – and hopefully he’s now learned a tough lesson – that none of these guys – on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, wherever, no matter who they are, have his interests at heart. The media only wants the Republican race to dissolve into chaos, will do anything to try and further that, and as the big dog in the race Trump should have known Matthews was going to try and take him down.

Maybe it’s just me, but I have a real bad feeling about this Red Sox team. The only good thing is that manager John Farrell knows he’s on the shortest leash in the majors (I think he’ll still be gone by Memorial Day), and GM Dave Dombrowski is fully aware that prior GM Ben Cherington was a disaster. Benching the low-performing, highly-paid Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo are a good start, but the problem is who replaces them? Travis Shaw and the combination of Brock Holt and Chris Young will have to prove themselves as far as I’m concerned, and if either don’t pan out, then what? And count me as not convinced about the starting rotation beyond David Price. It’ll be an interesting year, for sure.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 10:10 | Comments (0)
March 28, 2016

Was cleaning out the Pictures folder on my phone and came across this photo that I took while I was back in Massachusetts last fall. Too nice a pic not to post it up on the blog, I think…

Being here in Atlanta for business while back in Arizona the Valley of the Sun is in the full of Spring, it seems like an image from another world (actually, another planet)!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:12 | Comments (0)
March 27, 2016

From Luke 24:1–12:

At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words.

Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

Christ is risen, Alleluia!

The happiest of Easters from all the Goodboys and Goodboys Nation weblog!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:50 | Comments (0)
March 23, 2016

Ahhh yes, Holy Week. Back when I was deeply involved in church stuff this was THE week of the year, with lots of activities and services and time for meditation, contemplation and the like. These days? Not so much. I really don’t venture close to my Roman Catholic church because of the crowds, was thinking this year of heading up to one of the smaller Episcopal churches on Saturday where they have a small group that gathers since I’m traveling to Atlanta for business on Sunday. Times have changed, I’ve changed. It’s all good though…

But that doesn’t mean Holy Week gets short shrift in my consciousness. I was looking at the prayer grove next to the house today and it is truly beautiful and peaceful there. Thanks to our El Nino winter where we only really got two nights where the temps made it anywhere much below freezing the bougainvillea are as full and vibrant as I can remember. Carmelo’s guys do a truly great job maintaining the grove and keeping the natural archway we’ve cultivated looking as lovely as it is. And yesterday’s windstorm helped turn the ground into a carpet of Lenten violet just in time for the Triduum:

Our neighbors all know that the grove is available to everyone to use as a place for meditation. There’s even a bench to the left that makes it perfect to sit and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Not sure anyone has actually done so, but it’s there just the same.

Tomorrow night I’ll place a candle at the base of the table and let it burn as long as Creation desires.

My prayers and thoughts go out to all for a blessed and spiritual Holy Week and Easter.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:50 | Comments (0)
March 21, 2016

So let’s see: Bubba Watson already has two wins on the 2015-2016 PGA Tour season, you had Adam Scott with back-to-back wins on the recently-completed “Florida Swing”, you had Charl Schwartzel winning at the Valspar (green jacket holders all), and now you’ve got Jason Day picking up the win at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Invitational. Has there ever been such a suite of top-flight players playing their best just weeks before the Masters?

And if you’re looking for additional story lines and intrigue, consider that Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, two of the three top golfers in the world, have been struggling as of late. Can they get their kwan together in time for Augusta?

It’s a great lead-up to Augusta. Can’t wait for the proceedings to start.

—-

And while we’re on the subject of golf, kudos to Paula Creamer, who, after a year of being nowhere and playing a similar form of golf, finally looks like she has finally gotten her golf act back together with two very good finishes the last two times out. Let’s hope this means a little more coverage for The Great White Shank’s favorite LPGA golfer!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:15 | Comments (0)
March 19, 2016

To quote one of my heroes, that cultural icon Charlie Sheen.

There’s a YUUUUGE! Donald Trump rally just up the road a piece in Fountain Hills ahead of Arizona’s primary this coming Tuesday (no need to worry, Ivanka, already voted for The Donald by mail), and as become par for the course lately, the usual wackos and get-a-lifers are out in force.

Which has gotten me to thinking lately: if it is true, as they say, that you can take the measure of a man by his enemies, what of the argument by Ted Cruz and many of his supporters that Trump is some kind of closet liberal? What of the argument by so many in the media and GOP establishment circles that Trump would get destroyed by Hillary Clinton in the general election? What of the argument by those on the liberal left that Trump is a buffoon, a racist, sexist xenophobe who has no place in any election cycle, let alone this year’s presidential cycle? And, most recently, what of the legion of political commentators and GOP insiders who say there’s no way Trump will ever get enough delegates to gain the GOP nomination on the first ballot in Cleveland that that an open convention is a sure thing?

If all this is true, why the hysteria?

More to the point: if, as conventional wisdom says, Trump has no chance – zero, nada, zilch – to win in the general election, and if there is no way, once elected, he’d ever be able to do what he’s said from the start he’s going to do (build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, temporarily suspend Muslim immigration, renegotiate trade deals with our trading partners, etc.), why all the outrage from every freakin’ progressive liberal leftist wacko organization? Why the increasing level of protest and vitriol? Why the panic setting in on the so-called “conservative” right and the Beltway establishment on both sides of the political aisle?

I mean, it wasn’t that long ago – weeks really – that the worst you’d see is a couple-two-three protestors being escorted out of one of Trump’s rallies. Ah, the good old days! Now you got the Progressive Left mobilizing in Obama community-organizer style in damned-near Occupy Wall Street numbers blocking streets, doing the old civil disobedience stuff, carrying the usual array of vile signs and Mexican flags (yeah, that’ll really help the cause!) and chanting long-outdated and stupid unimaginative slogans (“Hey hey, ho ho Donald Trump has got to go!”) in yet-another pathetic attempt to recreate the Sixties of their parents and Bernie Sanders / Fidelista heroes.

[Ed. note: I'm not saying there shouldn't be protests - that's the ultimate form of freedom of speech and what makes America America. But I draw the line - and they should as well - at protest and civil disobedience that conlicts with my rights to travel freely and go about my own business freely. But that's not the point of today's post.]

The point is: Why Trump? And, more importantly, why now? I mean, Trump’s been saying the same stuff – in some cases, literally – for the past nine months. And why aren’t these folks organizing at Ted Cruz rallies? After all, isn’t Ted the “true” outsider, the “real deal” conservative, the keeper of the conservative agenda, so say his legions of supporters on the conservative right? And why aren’t these folks organizing at John Kasich “town halls” (political speak for I-don’t-have-enough-supporters-to-hold-a-rally)?

I’ll tell you why. Because Trump is winning. Trump is winning, and his opponents – the open border, cheap labor, big government, free trade, status-quo establishment types of the military-industrial-entertainment complex (to quote Fox Mulder) on both sides of the political aisle are scared out of their wits. Scared that Trump has tapped into something they can no longer control. Scared that as he continues to win folks who naturally gravitate to winners will also join the political insurgency that started when he and Melania rode that escalator down to the Trump Tower lobby last June. Scared that Hillary Clinton – the ultimate establishment candidate – stands no chance against the withering broadsides Trump has only started to hint at that are coming.

What scares them is the increasing likelihood that Trump could – gulp! – actually win and upset the status quo and spoils system both political parties have worked so hard to cultivate since the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. What scares them is that deep down they know that Trump is a winner writing his own rules as to how the political game is to be played in 2016. He’s his own man, a closer that doesn’t enter into any deal he doesn’t think he can win.

Trump is playing chess while his opponents from every side of the political spectrum seems to be playing Chinese checkers. And somehow, I think they also know this, which is what scares them the most.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:38 | Comments (0)

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