April 4, 2020

A few random thoughts on this “Coronavirus Crackdown” weekend:

When all of this is said and done I believe a lot of people are going to be even more pissed off at the media and the way they’ve whipped up the hysteria of this virus than they already are, if that is possible. In particular, to watch the way the White House reporters have acted during the President’s daily task force briefings has been an embarrassment; by seeking to one-up each other in their opposition (and in some cases, outright hostility) to the President and his task force members has not been either informational or helpful to anyone who has lost loved ones or their their jobs or businesses as a result of the Coronavirus.

…but it’s not just the White House reporters and the usual suspects in the national media who have been doing this; there are others whom I have normally enjoyed and trusted on the internet (in particular, Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds and Jack Posobiec, who both seem to have dove head-first into believing as gospel the worst of the doomsday models, whipping up daily doses of panic and frenzy with sensational headlines and posts. Knowing Reynolds’ track record of healthy cynicism regarding most things and his commitment to getting the word out on things like disaster preparedness I would have expected a bit of at least lukewarm water being tossed on the hysteria; in the case of Posobiec, while I give him credit for raising the awareness of the virus’s lethal capabilities as a result of his China knowledge and experience at the outset of the pandemic, he completely lost my respect with his over the top, gloom-and-doom posts that have (in my view) contributed in no small part to a lot of the hysteria you now find all over Twitter.

…on the other hand, Powerline blog has been a must-read during this crisis – not only are they reporting the numbers with a healthy dose of realism, their writers have not been afraid to be asking the kinds questions no one else seems interested in asking. And the same with Styxhexenhammer666’s YouTube channel and the Conservative Treehouse blog – all of which are striving to report what is actually happening vs. the breathless hysteria of the mainstream media. I highly recommend adding all to your daily new and information gathering, if only for more balanced and reasoned approach relating to “disease” vs. “cure”. For example, as CT’s Sundance writes:

For every media claim of overwhelmed hospital war-zones, there are a dozen reports from actual workers, nurses, doctors and medical personnel reporting exactly the opposite; and yes, a disparity in reporting even in the New York metropolitan area.

Medical personnel in Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia New Jersey, and every region in the USA are reporting there are few to no patients in their facility and the medical staff is being laid-off, or told to go home and/or stay home, because there is nothing to do.

How the heck is this level of profound disconnect possible?

If you google (or duck duck) search: “medical personnel laid-off”, or “nurses sent home” there are thousands of various reports showing hospitals and treatment centers essentially devoid of any patients. There are videos of hospitals on social media showing empty medical treatment floors, empty ICU units, empty waiting rooms, empty x-ray labs, and workers waiting for something to do…

Obviously, the collective -albeit anecdotal- reports do not fit with the 24/7 media claims of “war zones” and PTSD suffering medical workers so overwhelmed they are now committing suicide because they cannot cope.

But back to my comments relating to Posobiec, this is one of the things I’ve learned during this crisis: Twitter as a forum is doing far more harm and than good when it comes to disseminating information. Nothing seems to be in context, and every outlandish rumor of people dying in the streets and bodies stacked up everywhere is treated as fact. Which, BTW, has made the President’s job far more difficult and than it should be. Look, I get it that a lot of folks on the left hate Trump and there is nothing he can ever do to change that, but to use a social media platform to spread disinformation and whip up hysteria about the Coronavirus is simply unconscionable. I guess I thought during a time of crisis we as a country would try to listen to the better angels of our nature, but I guess that was expecting too much.

One of the questions I’ve been asking from the start is why both the White House and others seem to be treating the IHME model predicting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the U.S. as gospel; one would think the White House reporters would show less interest in attacking everything the President says and more interest in the data, parameters, and assumptions that went into that model – after all, hasn’t that model been the driving motivation behind all the measures being taken at every level of government currently in the process of destroying our economy?

…I mean, when have the so-called “experts” – be they scientists, professionals, and/or pollsters – gotten anything right? Think about it: whenever something happens with the economy, be it positive or negative, it is always presented as something “unexpectedly”. The news regarding climate change as predicted by so-called experts over the past fifty years has almost always been wrong – remember Michael Mann’s flawed (I would argue totally bogus) “hockey stick”? And how about those so-called “experts” when it came to polling during the 2016 election? Heck, even today they haven’t learned: they’re still using outdated (or, I might suggest, deliberately flawed) models that juice up the numbers for Democrats and against Republicans and Trump.

…given the above, then, why aren’t folks being more questioning and careful about distinguishing between the reported Coronavirus death rates and the actual ones, and how and why some folks appear to get it more than others? And I’m not talking just the numbers of reported cases, but the deaths that can directly blamed on Coronavirus. For example, why aren’t we making a bigger deal about the number of hospital admissions and discharges on a daily basis? Or the number of people who have died without preconditions vs. those having preconditions? Wouldn’t you want to know the actual risk of death to otherwise-healthy people as opposed to making the cure worse than the disease itself? One would think the medical community out there would be just as concerned with publishing accurate data as opposed to so much speculation going on out there. To that end, this interview with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University is a must-watch. We need the data, and everyone is freaking out and destroying the economy without knowing the data. It’s absurd.

…I guess what I’m saying is that when all this is over, this country need to take a cold, hard look at how we got to the point of wrecking our economy and the lives of millions of people – a number far worse than anything the Coronavirus will ever do, not of caution, but outright and irrational fear. And while this might sound cold and harsh, I think we’re also going to have to take a good, hard look at both the homelessness issue and the obesity rate of our population – for the former instituting a “no tolerance” agenda and clearing the streets, for the latter have the medical community start treating obesity more aggressively than we have to date. I guarantee you that the death rate associated with the Coronavirus are heavily skewed by folks with preconditions directly related to diet, social habits, and obesity. I know I would be truly interested in seeing those numbers, I’m sure others would be as well.

And finally, The one thing I’m noticing that few others (at least in the media are) is the performance of states with Democratic governors as opposed to those with Republican governors. I mean, is their a more ineptly run state than New York? And not just during this crisis but well before it. Sure, its density of population would make it a natural hot spot for the Coronavirus, but Andrew Cuomo’s performance has only highlighted just how poorly-prepared the state was and how poorly-managed it has been run in the years leading up to this crisis. And compare and contrast, say, the performance of New York’s Cuomo, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and Virginia’s Ralph Northam with those of Arizona’s Doug Ducey, Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Texas’ Greg Abbott. One one hand you have ineptitude, finger-pointing and overreaction; on the other hand responses that are more deliberate, measured, and responsible.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:42 | Comments (0)
April 2, 2020

So I’m officially free of the meat-grinder and I’m feeling pretty good about things. I was a little worried that converting my LinkedIn account from my employer address to my home address would be difficult, but was able to accomplish it with a minimum of back-and forth between the home office and my business office. Today I’ll be officially filing for unemployment and will start up TGWS Consulting, my own business I plan to use for who knows what – if I want to stay in the IT industry it will be a perfect vehicle for doing so; if I want to go in other directions it might be helpful as well. My current plans for April are to use the month for strengthening my LinkedIn network and planting as many seeds as possible.

I must be pretty damned tired without knowing it: after opening the door for the electrician to begin work swapping out our main box (there was something overheating behind the circuit box), I laid back down and slept to noon – something I would (or could) never have imagined doing in my former employment situation! I’m just going to let my body tell me what it wants to do over the next month.

A pet peeve: all these celebrities and folks using John Lennon’s “Imagine” as some kind of anthem of hope. Anthem of hope? You’ve got to be shitting me! Granted, the melody is lovely, and I always found the video of Lennon’s performance particularly poignant with its movement from darkness to light. Yeah, I get it. But the words themselves are, to be brutally frank, the equivalent of dishwater – socialist, idealistic drivel that not even the most ardent socialist would ever be willing to ascribe to. Don’t believe me?

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

No heaven or hell? No religion? No possessions? Basically, what Lennon’s words are saying is there is nothing worth believing in. PERIOD. What kind of an existence would that be? I still remember hearing Lennon’s words when I first got the album back in 1971. And even then, at hearing Lennon’s plea to “imagine no possessions”, I remember myself saying, “you first, John”, knowing he had for himself quite the nice existence as a result of his Beatles existence.

…And that’s the same thing I say to all you liberals and progressives out there – most especially when it comes to climate change and all this “Green New Deal” bullshit. Me? I’ll believe climate change is real when I hear about all those Hollywood celebrities foregoing their carbon-burning private jets and limos. And I’ll believe your cries for open borders when you stop locking your doors at night and all those Hollywood celebrities forego their gated communities and walled-in mansions. It’s all so much bullshit.

…look, I’m no paragon of virtue by any means, but I’m no hypocrite. With The Great White Shank you see what you get.

Happened upon a video of Linda Ronstadt singing “It’s So Easy” back in her heyday and am reminded of just how great and versatile a singer she was. She literally could sing (and has) sung everything from country to pop to pop standards, to mariachi, to classical Cuban. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say she’s one of the greatest singers of our time. I don’t think she’s under-appreciated – lots of folks know how good she was – but I wonder if you’re sitting around a hotel room bed and, say, debating whether Steely Dan was a great band or not (they weren’t), if you were to ask those assembled to name the greatest pop singer of all time I wonder if anyone would mention Ronstadt’s name. I would say she would certainly consider merit.

…I still remember seeing her on the Boston Common back in the late 70s. She came out looking drop-dead cute (if there ever was a definition of cute in the Webster’s they would have had a picture of Ronstadt by it!) in a Girl Scout outfit and blowing away the crowd with that mother-f’in’ tight band of hers: Russ Kunkel on drums, Kenny Edwards on bass, Waddy Wachtel, Danny Kortchmar, and/or Andrew Gold on on guitar, Billy Payne on keyboards, and Peter Asher on vocals. These guys were not only the cream of L.A. musicians during the mid-to-late ’70s, but with Ronstadt hanging around the Troubador bar were ultimately for bringing the Eagles together.

…Ronstadt’s voice was a true instrument: she could sing it straight, falsetto, sweetly, and growl and purr almost effortlessly. What a treasure!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:26 | Comments (0)
March 31, 2020

I just looked at the clock and, as far as Eastern Daylight Time is concerned (all that matters as far as my now-previous employer is concerned), for the first time in almost 17 1/2 years I find myself unemployed. A truly free agent in every sense of the word. The world being my oyster and all that happy horse shit. It feels truly weird.

I went to bed last night trying to think about who I was and what it was like back in December of 2003, walking into the Gateway Center building (at that time where my company’s Phoenix office was then located). I was forty-eight at the time, only feeling relieved that my brief and pitiful period of selling health insurance was finally over. I was back in Healthcare IT, where, the idea of becoming an Episcopal or Anglican priest recently and finally squashed like a bug, I knew I belonged.

Laying on the pillow, hands behind my head, I couldn’t recall who or what I was at that time. Isn’t that strange? All I knew then was that I had found a new gig: something I was truly qualified for. This was four years before working from home. Five years before the India team. Fourteen years before “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” and when the madness set in.

I never dreamed it would be 17 1/2 years later, and I’d be sixty-four – 64! – and that, mentally and physically fried to a crisp, the journey would come to an end.

Strange thing is, I found all the final activities associated with my final day of employment strangely dull and unemotional. Got up in the morning, found that the incompetent Human Resources representative (who has never been either human nor a resource in all my dealings with her) finally got my “outboarding” (where do folks come up with these terms, anyways?) e-mail with all my severance package info (which, if it is to be believed, something very respectable) as well as all the other crap you have to follow when leaving a primarily remote company (turn in you badge, your company credit card, your laptop, etc.). I found it interesting they were allowing me keep a very nice 22″ Lenovo monitor: the equipment guy told me they had run out of room for returned monitors. Go figure.

I backed up all the files I could onto an archaic external drive my company had provided me years ago.

I checked my Inbox, now down to seven e-mails (all from well-wishers in the company), got it down to zero.

I had a final call with my team, where I learned that, not only are a bunch of folks being placed on furlough (supposedly because of the Coronavirus), but that there are rumors of a sales force layoff in the next couple of weeks followed by another 10% reduction in force after that, and then after that yet another reduction in force planned for the beginning of May.

If all the above is true, it would appear that I’m getting out just in time.

(I really don’t want this post to be negative; all I’m going to say is that it infuriates me to no end that a once-prominent (and in my view, superior) healthcare IT company has been run into the fucking ground by a bunch of totally fucking incompetent and over-their-fucking-heads management team by a totally fucking incompetent, social justice warrior impersonating a CEO. I hate to offer the premise of a conspiracy theory here, but I find it hard to believe that someone could take over a company in 2012 – a company with clients from one end of the country to the other – a real player in the healthcare IT industry – with a stock price somewhere in the $15 range and gradually run it into the ground where, just seven years later, it has lost a large portion of its US client base, its stock is in the $7 range, and has been laying off people by the dozens over the past two years. Sure, you can call it capitalism – and it is – but you know damned well the CEO is going to leave with a damned fine compensation package when the company is sold, and to hell with everyone else. It just sucks, and my heart bleeds for everyone being forced to watch that string quartet play “Nearer My God To Three” as the stern rises ever so slowly as the bow begins to disappear under the waves. It just sickens me.)

It was shortly after 1 PM (4 PM EDT) that I sent my final e-mails out, set my Skype status to “Away”, put my Outlook out of office message on, and then quietly, without emotion or fanfare, powered off my laptop and unplugged the equipment on my office desk. My office mate Peach the rabbit must have sensed something was going on – he came over and started biting the wire fence that separates his part of the room from mine, insisting on some attention. I gave him a few pets, got up from my chair, and went out to make lunch. And that was that.

Ever since getting the news of my layoff on Thursday I’d been wondering what it would feel like to shut down the laptop, knowing it was all over. Would I feel sadness? Joy? Relief? As it was, I felt nothing. Not happy. Not sad. Not even sentimental. It was over – fourteen pretty enjoyable years, the last three years absolute, meat-grinder hell. I actually thought I’d already made it through the five stages of grief since the work dreams of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night had stopped, but there was no emotion at all. To quote a great Meg Myers song, all I could feel was numb.

Eight hours later, I’m starting to feel the first tingles of what might be the first tiny tastes of true freedom. Freedom to explore new paths. Freedom from the 6:20 AM alarm and another day of bullshit and crisis management (Manage up! Manage down!) without any let-up from the git-go. I can already feel all the stress and anxiety starting to pour out of me: I used to welcome my 2 PM naps where I would immediately fall asleep; now I just look at the ceiling and think about what I want to do with the rest of the day.

There’s no question my age and the severance package I’m getting helps with the anxiety of having to find a new gig almost immediately – I doubt I’d be feeling the same were I ten, or even five, years younger – all I know right now is that I’m standing outside the arena and looking in and able to see just how emotionally damaged and spent I am. I know I need to take some time to heal, and it’s going to take time.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:03 | Comments (0)
March 28, 2020

One of the benefits of suddenly being unemployed is that you get more time to doing things that you have been paying scant attention to because of a lack of free time. This blog has really taken a hit over the past 2 1/2 years. I enjoy writing for my own pleasure – it keeps the left side (or is it the right side) of the brain functioning. I know this blog is just a minor outpost in the world of social media, but I’m going to see what I can do to open it up a little more now that I will have the time to do so.

One of the things the Trump presidency has revealed is the ugly current of hatred and misinformation / disinformation being used as a weapon on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. That’s not going to change, but the amount of people whom I follow on Twitter are simply amazed at the outpouring of hate they receive on a daily basis. Being that these Twitter accounts are conservative in nature, the outpouring of hate, of course, comes from the left. I have little doubt that the same thing is happening to those who tweet from the other side of the political equation, although I sincerely doubt there’s as much hate as there is facts and debate.

I’m thinking of using my Twitter account a little bit more now that my schedule has opened up, but I think primarily I’ll keep the blog because blogs are more prone to thinking as opposed to reacting. Everything happens so fast in social media these days that’s it’s really not interesting to me to be the first to respond to news or pile on the reactions to news when and as it happens. Anyways, I’m looking at the recent events in my life as an opportunity to explore new things while not closing the door to old ones. Tracey and I are fortunate that we’ve had good-paying jobs for a long time and have had good financial advice to help put our affairs in order. We’re not rich by any stretch of the matter, but we’re in a lot better shape than many folks. I’ve also got a bit of a severance package coming that will help ease the transition into whatever comes next.

Anyways, y’all will probably be seeing more frequent posting in the future as a way to entertain myself and fill the holes in what is now a pretty empty schedule as far a demands go.

Because I’m the kind of guy that needs goals and timelines, and because we’re reaching the end of Q1 2020, I figure I’m going to use the next three months (Q2) to decompress and start planting seeds and exploring what might be out there as far as future opportunities go. The easiest thing would be to start pounding the bricks (at least theoretically) looking to continue doing the very same thing I’ve been doing for so long. Perhaps were we entirely dependent on my income (or, more importantly, were I ten years younger) I don’t think I’d have a choice. But now that the shock of being sacked is over, I realize that: (1) I was only going to try and squeeze another 2 1/2 years out of my present situation to begin with, (2) have a nice little pension from a previous employer that, while not much, will still supplement any income I’ll be bringing in starting this October, and (3) that, no matter what I end up finding or doing I know I’ll never again make anything near the same amount of money I have been making, that kind of helps frame the parameters around my present situation.

It’s funny how this sudden change in my work situation creates little ripples of cause and effect. For example, there will no longer be a need for the room that has served as my office ever since I started working from home thirteen years ago. Which means Peach the rabbit would now be spending his days all by himself, isolated from the ebb and flow of the rest of the house – something clearly not acceptable. So this weekend we’ll be looking at reconfiguring our home office so that Peach can have company while I’m working on taxes (something I now have plenty of time to work on!) or just doing normal computer stuff. I have a feeling he’ll like that a whole lot better!

At any rate – most especially with the COVID-19 thing going on, nothing much is really going to change, at least in the short-term. When everything opens back up and folks start hiring and traveling again I’ll have a better idea as to what range of opportunities might actually be out there. For now I’ll just file for unemployment (joining the many thousands of others who have done the same), start working on taxes, do regular housecleaning (another area that has suffered for a long time!) and start working on next steps. The saying goes that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. I’m not sure what I was doing the last 2 1/2 years, but it certainly wasn’t what I would call a quality kind of life. Now that I’ll have some time to decompress hopefully there will be room for living as opposed to simply existing.

Oh, and that “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” that has been the bane of my existence for the last 2 1/2 years? O-M-G, are they mortified to learn that their lifeline to someone that actually cared about them and got results for them will no longer be around for their every want, need, and demands All I can say, welcome to the post-Great White Shank apocalypse, CWSRN – you have no clue how hard life is about to become for you!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:48 | Comments (0)
March 26, 2020

I lost my job today.

It’s not that I didn’t see this coming, mind you – I thought I might be able to squeeze another year or two out of the wheezing dinosaur that is the company (as the good soldier I’ll let remain nameless) I’ve been a part of for the past 16 1/2 years.

16 1/2 years is a damned long time. I think about it – I was forty-eight years old when then-Eclipsys (courtesy of two really great guys, Dan Tankersley and Phil Santucci) pulled my sorry ass out of insurance company hell (I was never much of a sales guy, never was, never will be) and offered me a project manager job. At the time I was lost in every sense of the word: I was living in Arizona (courtesy of some bad, knee-jerk decision-making), my once-soaring and solid IT career in shambles, completely unmarketable.

But there Tracey and I were, having coffee on the back patio that Saturday morning in December 2003, when we hear a FedEx truck grumbling outside the front door leaving a package containing an offer to join Eclipsys as a project manager. Man, that was a great occasion – we even broke out a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I was free of the insurance world and back in familiar digs, career wise.

They say in life you have to make your own luck. A month after joining Eclipsys they didn’t know what to do with me. A software fiasco that had occurred right around the time I was hired had forced the company to retrench, software wise, and the projects I was originally hired for all fell by the wayside. I found myself as a new hire in a company with nothing to do. One day, happening by one of the manager’s offices, I heard a conversation where they were bemoaning the fact they had no one to organize a custom report writing team – something that appeared to be an obvious need at the time. I waited a couple of hours (discretion being the better part of valor) then stopped in to ask if he had anything interesting I could work on. The rest was history.

Seventeen years later, our little custom reports team at the time (two employees who dabbled in reports) has become a ten-person team spread across both North America and India. It wasn’t just me who accomplished this – all I did was follow the lead of others to make sure that the team we built was founded on uniformity, competence, and passion – something I will readily take credit for. Others may have made the business unit possible, I was the one that made it a team.

Back in 2007 when our India operation was launched, things were hard – a lot of hours were spent cultivating good work practices and separating the wheat from the chaff. And there were growing pains, for sure (I remember a late-night – and admittedly alcohol-fueled – bombardment of the India guys for not having the same passion for excellence that I did. Industry standards indicate a 30% turnover of India IT resources every year. The fact that our team has at least three great report writers who have been there more than a decade is an indication of the care and respect my old boss Bill (sacked last November) and I had in treating our team, be it North America-based or India-based, the same.

Those who frequent this blog frequently will know the last three years have not been easy ones. Beginning in 2017 with “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”, everything just took a turn for the worse. My team was asked to go far beyond the role we had originally been charged with, developing solutions that our development organization couldn’t produce. It was hard. At one point, between December of 2017 and May of 2018, it was fourteen-hour days and the most relentless of pressure I have ever experienced. I couldn’t sleep. My hair started falling out. My marriage suffered. And even to this day, there’s still an incredible amount of work that is never gonna get done correctly because it takes a leader with special skills to keep things all together to make it all work out for my company’s client base (“Nameless” and otherwise).

I’ll say it straight: my company is going under because its senior leadership thinks it is more important that it be a “good citizen of the community” than a profit-generating, publicly-traded corporation. We have a largely female senior leadership who thinks it is more important to empower women and “give back to the community” than it is to generate revenue. When our CEO took over ~ eight years ago, our stock was in the $15 range; today it’s somewhere around $6.50. And this is in healthcare, mind you – something that everyone in this country and the world needs! How on God’s green earth can a company that sells software applicable to the entire population of the country not make money with its products? It takes a unique combination of arrogance, incompetence, and willful blindness to run such a company into the ground. But that’s what these buffoons have done.

I’m just glad I’m at 64 1/2 years old, seeing far more sunsets than I ever will see, than were I, say, ten years younger. I’ll admit it: I’m a dinosaur. While I believe that for-profit companies need to make a profit, I’ve always treated my team members in the U.S. and India as family. I’ve never asked anyone to commit to anything to a degree I wouldn’t do myself. I’ve pushed people very hard at times when needed, but always knew when to take the pedal off the metal. I think I always had my hand on the pulse of a team with wide-ranging cultural differences and technical experience. The senior management of my company suck and are a bunch of incompetent boobs, but I always protected my team from the bullshit, enabling them to do the kind of work they do best.

And I guess that what makes me a dinosaur. And today the dinosaur got his walking papers.

I’m more fortunate than most that Tracey and I have done a pretty good job preparing for this day. Not as good as we could have, I suppose, but we’re in far better shape, I think, than others who also got the axe today. It’s too early to start thinking what I might do next, but one of my co-workers who chose to leave on his own while the getting was good compares us to some kind of Stockholm Syndrome refugee colony, where all the 11-hour weekdays (or more) and sneaking a couple of hours in on Saturday and Sunday for the better part of 2 1/2 years have made us believe that the pressure we’ve been under all this time is somehow acceptable and worthwhile.

I think the hardest thing I’m going to encounter is to unplug myself from all the madness – the 6:30 AM calls, the necessary 2 PM nap to clear my head, the scrambling to complete my workday by 6:30 PM in order to start dinner – the downtime is all going to seem so foreign to me. I don’t know what I want to do next at this point. I won’t miss the work, for sure, but I’ll certainly miss the friendships I’ve cultivated on my team both in the U.S. and in India. We worked hard together, succeeded together, and (especially with “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”) went down in flames together. We may not have always succeeded, but we never stopped caring for each other and working together a tight unit.

The dick-heads have won. The kind of incompetence my company allows their senior management to exhibit on a day-in, day-out basis is disheartening. They say the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Given our track record over the past years – catastrophic implementations, a vastly reduced client base, and a plummeting stock price – the fact that my company’s senior leadership remains in place is an indication of something perhaps far deeper and more sinister than I was willing to admit. A company’s senior leadership can be a bunch of assholes or they can be incompetent, but you can’t succeed at being both. Clueless and stupid is no way to run a company.

We’ll see where I go from here. Right now the need is to decompress and start taking care of myself health-wise. The last 2 1/2 years have been rough on both my physical and psychological well-being, so maybe a nice break to recharge the batteries and start exploring new and different opportunities will be a good thing.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:51 | Comments (2)
March 25, 2020

You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats – right out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”, they’re not one to “let a good crisis go to waste”. No matter if people are dying and all the fine work President Trump and his administration have done for the economy over the past three years is all going to shit, Speaker of the House “San Fran Nan” Pelosi and her cadre of left-wing loons, both in Washington and in blue-state governorships, seem hell-bent in doing everything they can to extend everyone’s misery while doing their utmost to use this crisis to impose their far left, socialist agenda down the throats of the American people.

Did Pelosi really think her 11th-hour attempt at stuffing the original Coronavirus relief bill full of the most noxious of left-wing Christmas list items was going to fly undetected under the radar screens of social media-savvy conservatives? And even at this late hour she’s still determined to give it another try.

And it’s not just Pelosi, even the human fossil Joe Biden (supposedly the Democrats’ presumptive Democratic nominee) suggests the Democrats push their “Green New Deal” agenda in a future Coronavirus stimulus bill.

Do Democratic Party governors like Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Nevada’s Steve Sisolak really think they can go “full totalitarian” on their state and think people aren’t going to push back? All these power-hungry idiots are doing is laying the foundation for the economic destruction of their states.

This, of course, is sheer lunacy, but it goes a long way towards illustrating just how un-serious Democrats are when it comes to handling a national crisis, and how incompetent they would be if, God forbid, they were given the reins of power in Washington.

Biden, in particular, looks like a someone far better suited for the Sunny Acres Rehabilitation Facility than he is for the White House. It’s gotten especially bad lately – his appearances on “The View” and his own campaign’s attempted virtual press conferences being an utter disaster. I’m not quite there at feeling sorry for someone who has never been anything more than a public servant grifter and a phony from the very start; I’ll leave that sentiment to my Democrat and liberal Goodboys friends.

…that being said, you Democrats and libs can forget the whole idea of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sliding into the role of Democratic nominee based on his highly-visible role in the Coronavirus crisis. He isn’t going to help the Democrats this fall. Not only will he have to deal with his own issues involving this crisis when the dust settles, he has significant corruption issues in his own state, as Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw notes:

The last thing I’ll offer is a warning to Democrats that Cuomo’s moment in the sun recently doesn’t erase his very problematic past, so even if they were inclined to tank Uncle Joe, they might want to consider someone else. Let’s not forget that there are more skeletons in Cuomo’s closet than in your average Halloween haunted house. During his time as governor, Cuomo has been involved in so many campaign finance, fundraising and appropriation scandals that books could be written on the subject. So many of his associates, cronies and former aides are either currently in prison or avoided jail time with plea deals on things like bid-rigging that they could start their own prison baseball team. Others were convicted of bribing judges and one of his longest-serving aides who he frequently described as being “more like a brother” got six years for lining his own pockets out of a massive, failed “stimulus” scheme known as the Buffalo Billion.

Not only that, like Biden he would still have to run on a far-left Democratic Party socialist, big-government agenda that the majority of Americans will never support.

Someone who, I will admit, has impressed me a great deal during this crisis has been Vice President Mike Pence. While I always liked his family personally because they have a rabbit as a pet, I was never really impressed with him because he just seemed so wooden and so, well, phony. But I have to admit his stock has risen in my view to the point where, were President Trump to be re-elected this year, Pence – largely on the strength of his current performance – would have to be at the top of my list of candidates to succeed PDJT.

But back to the virus. The President’s leadership team told us last week that, with all the increased testing and the natural course of the virus, this was going to be an ugly week, and it has. But I’m guessing that we’re already in the middle of the worst part of the crisis and that starting next week you’re going to see the news on all fronts beginning to brighten quite a bit, and quickly. Of course, the scaredy-cats and wimps out there will still be cautioning that we have to close the entire country down for another month to two months, but these folks were the first ones to call President Trump a racist and xenophobe for his bold decision to shut down travel from China back in January. I’ll bet little Justin Trudeau in Canada wishes he’d done the same.

PowerLine blog’s John Hinderaker has an interesting take on the virus’s potential impact on large populations, using the case of the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which was quarantined after it was found that an infected passenger flew into Tokyo and spent a few days aboard a Princess Cruises ship, forcing authorities to lock down the vessel with thousands of people on board. Hinderaker writes:

The Diamond Princess experience–virtually a laboratory experiment–suggests that around 80% of the population is naturally immune to COVID-19, that half the people who get the disease will experience no symptoms, and that in an elderly population, something like 1% of those who contract the disease will die. So far I don’t see anything in the reported U.S. or global fatality numbers to contradict the Diamond Princess experience.

I think this is about right and will be, at the end, determined to be so.

The bottom line here is that Trump is right – there’s absolutely no reason that, with folks following what will be a set of stringent cautions and some gradual easing of travel restrictions we shouldn’t be able to start opening things up around the country in 2-3 weeks. This is not a case of all or nothing – we certainly have the brains and the capabilities to be somewhat flexible in how things are carefully done. Trump knows this, of course, but the mainstream media will continue to do everything they can to keep the panic and hysteria going since it serves their anti-Trump agenda.

But things are about to start getting better. Here in Arizona, compared with hot-spots like Washington state and New York, things have been fairly mild, at least thus far. And I think we’ve seen the worst of it.

Say… perhaps the Goodboys’ plans of traveling to Canada for GB 30 ought to be given pause, replaced with the boys coming here to Arizona. Sure, it will be hot, but it’s a dry heat (as they say), you can conceal-carry, and you can bet we’ll have kicked ol’ Coronavirus to the curb well before then.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:59 | Comments (0)
March 23, 2020

Lots of high-stakes poker being played in Washington, DC tonight between the Republicans and the Democrats. Monday is going to be an absolute bloodbath in the markets (this is going to be especially bad, from what I am hearing). As a result I do believe you are going to see the first stages of true panic out there. I’m not kidding – I’m talking true panic – runs on banks, food hoarding, and suicides.

I’m not fucking kidding.

In my view, this is everything the Democrats and their political operatives in the mainstream media have wanted from Day One. They couldn’t get Trump on “Russia collusion”. They couldn’t impeach him on Ukraine. So now they’re going to use COVID-19 as a way to tank the economy beyond repair. They don’t give a shit, and never have, about this country. It’s all about destroying Trump and his administration. If this is what this is all about I have only two words for you, and I think you know what they are.

Look, at this point I don’t know what each side wants (although knowing the Democrats and their long-view political agenda they’re throwing into the pot all kinds of pet issues like $ for Planned Parenthood (the better to kill more black babies) and forgive student loans (the better to pander to the helpless, pampered thick-headed dumb snowflake sheep out there).

The fact is, these folks are playing with real lives out there. A commenter “Luke” to this Conservative Treehouse post offers this sobering view of the way things are right now:

Today has been especially rough for me personally. The shock of what is happening has worn off and reality is taking a toll. I’m not scared of the disease other than many people getting it at once. That is a legitimate concern. We should probably heed the calls for social distancing, etc. To try and prolong the spread which will inevitably occur. The thought of our economic situation terrifies me. I work from home, in IT have been for years. My company is only going to be able to pay me for so long. Yes I mentioned that I work from home but us salesmen cost money and when sales are not being made. Nobody is really buying what I peddle at the moment. So many people have it much worse tho. The bureaucrats have 2 good stimulus packages in them. After that confidence in our financial stability wanes quickly.

This is a crucial point; whatever your thoughts are in the virility of the virus. I don’t think it’s all overhype anymore. There are plenty of doctors begging us to follow what they are telling us Stay Home. We should listen for now. It’s the single best thing we can for a president and a country that have done so much for us.

So it all comes down to a game of who do you believe, doesn’t it? I think Larry Schweikart has it nailed perfectly.

As I’ve said before (and I don’t care if I get crucified for this) the damage China, the Democrats, and their bought and paid for American mainstream media want to do is to destroy the American economy, so as the better to destroy Trump and implement their socialist strategy and do China’s ultimate bidding. You don’t believe me? Fine. But what you are seeing our elected leaders do to us as a people is far worse than anything COVID-19 is ever going to do. Are people going to die? YES. And that is too bad. But the number of people who are ultimately going to die (keeping in mind everyone racing to identify drugs to halt the spread of the virus and, in the end, immunize folks against it) is nothing – NOTHING – compared to the misery that will result from the destruction of the U.S. economy.

Enough of the fear-mongering. Enough of the fucking hysteria. Enough of all the bullshit. It would appear President Trump has finally wisened up to the games being played by the mainstream media and Democratic governors who want to use this crisis as a way to impose their totalitarian agendas on their various populaces (because that’s what socialists do, right?):

WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF. AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!

Not that Senators McConnell and Schumer or Speaker Nancy Pelosi are listening, but let me say something productive and make it easy for y’all:

1. Suspend all trading in the stock market for 14 days.

2. Call for all retail outlets of any kind to enact strict guidelines against hoarding and allow local authorities to arrest store managers who don’t pay heed.

3. Enact legislation that will:

* Provide $1,250 monthly stipend for 3 months (it will take that long to restart the economy)

* $500 per child.

* Personal incomes of less than $250K

*Include everyone including those on disability, 1099s, small business owners, & seniors

PERIOD.

Enough is enough. It has already been revealed that Americans are nothing more than spoiled children, incapable of rational thought of any kind. Implement the above, keep it simple, and we will end up getting through this fine.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am at both my fellow countrymen and the political parties we have elected to do the nation’s business in Washington. One would think we would adhere to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” in this crisis, but as a country we appear to have failed miserably to come even close to that. It is a disgrace. Collectively, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Here is what I have seen:

* The mainstream media has revealed themselves to be nothing more than a bunch of alarmist boobs in their petty hatred of Donald Trump.

* The American public has revealed themselves to be nothing more than a bunch of selfish, spoiled, scaredy-cat imbeciles capable of rational thought and caring for their neighbors and fellow man.

* Our political ruling class has revealed themselves to be completely incapable of rising above petty politics and working together for the good of this country.

I remember that classic line in “Tin Cup” when Romeo tells Roy McAvoy that when the moment comes, “you define the moment or the moment defines you”.

Well the moment has come, and it is shit.

We are sooooo screwed as a country.

And we deserve everything we get.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:59 | Comments (0)
March 22, 2020

Been so busy these past couple of weeks I hadn’t had a chance to post this lovely pic of a fire I built under the last lovely full moon. I’m really impressed by the Apple IPhone upgrade with the camera enhancements. I can now take pictures I never would have been able to get previously. Lovely, isn’t it?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:29 | Comments (0)
March 21, 2020

A tip of the hat to the late, great Roy Orbison for the title of this post.

Because, as Paul McCartney once sang, I’m really down.

Folks, I’ll admit, I’ve reached the breaking point in my anger and frustration at the hysteria that is going on out here because of yes, the CHINESE VIRUS. I’m tired of the empty shelves in the grocery stores. I’m tired of the hoarders – yesterday I saw some woman actually allowed to purchase two 24-can flats of green beans – acting out on the hysteria being pushed by the mainstream media at both the national and local levels. All it is doing is making people crazy and feeding the hysteria machine making everyone think we’re all about to die.

I was watching the CBS morning show yesterday morning while waiting for my car to have its oil changed, and these clowns were congratulating each other for being so brave for moving into a smaller studio to do their telecasts because of the Cornoavirus, as if they were saving humanity by reducing the amount of technical staff needed. I mean, are you kidding me? But that is what the sheep across this country of ours is watching and lapping up on a daily basis. It’s really sickening to watch.

I mean, where are our priorities here? Is it the infinitesimally small amount of people who are going to die – if not from the COVID-19 then some other form of flu this year – or the wreckage of the entire U.S. economy? Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not being callous about the loss of those who might or will die from this virus, but the sad fact is, life is cheap these days. Don’t believe me? The mainstream media and Democrats overwhelmingly support abortion right up until the moment of birth, don’t they? And you don’t hear nearly the same kind of hysteria when young black men are killing each other on the streets of Chicago or Baltimore every single weekend. I guarantee that when you look at the butcher’s bill at the end of 2020 you’ll see far more deaths from inner-city gun violence then you will from the COVID-19. So spare me your hysteria.

…the damage we are doing to our economy is ultimately going to far greater harm to a larger group of people than COVID-19 could ever dream of. And it’s time folks start pushing back against the hysteria.

I’ve had enough. I mean, you’ve now got the golf courses around here – you know, places, like, in the open air, saying that until this crisis breaks there will be no ball washers on the course. And no rakes by the sand bunkers. And no pairs in golf carts. Here’s an idea: if you’re afraid of contracting the COVID-19 virus by playing golf, then DON”T PLAY. Which is why I’m quarantining my golf game until these wackos get out of my way. I just don’t want to deal with the hysteria of it all.

I can’t help thinking that a primary driver behind all this, in some way, is the fear of lawsuits. Of course, even if you catch the virus you will never be able to prove where you contracted it from. But there is such a thing as a class-action suit, and you know that the pussies who run businesses both small and large have this in the back of their minds.

The people who are pissing me off the most are the mainstream press. They’re not just acting like assholes, but they are doing a grave disservice to this country out of their hatred for President Trump. I mean, you can’t win with these clowns. They call him a racist and a xenophobe when he suspends air travel from places like China and Europe, then criticize him for not acting fast enough. They’re all for Obama-sized big government, then they criticize him when the CDC and FDA regulations slow ability to act with urgency. The media had no issue pushing the “Chinese virus” back in January and February, now Trump is a racist for doing the same. The media has been doing their collective best to talk down Trump’s roaring economy ever since he took office, now they’re suddenly concerned when the market tanks. You simply cannot win with these people. They suck.

But the heck with President Trump and his team of experts, this is the kind of leader I want at the helm of the Ship of State during times like these. Which is just another reason why Democrats have to be feeling frustrated by how limited their responses during this crisis have been. After all, when you’ve spent the entire Trump administration focusing on issues important only to the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, and their viewership in the elitist collectives on the east and west coasts (how’s that impeachment thing working out for y’all now?), it isn’t surprising you have precious little to offer in the way of substance when a real crisis erupts.

If there is a silver lining to this whole virus thing, it’s the destruction of all the boutique social issues the progressive elitists have been shoving down our collective throats for the past decade. Think about it: when the hype over COVID-19 is nothing less then global annihilation, there isn’t much air left in the room for issues like reusable grocery bags, the elimination of fossil fuels and plastic straws, and the number of gender pronouns we ought to be using. When times are good and there’s plenty of things for the progressive left to complain and be outraged about; when things and the times get serious their bluster seems a little silly and over the top, doesn’t it?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 14:55 | Comments (0)
March 17, 2020

Hey Boys – Hope everyone is doing well. I woke up this morning and it was snowing. With that, I heard that Tom Brady was leaving. I can’t recall a more tragic day in NE. Brady leaving, Bars closed on St Patty’s Day, COVID-19 on the rise with all of us going f’in stir crazy being quarantined and now I’m down to 4 rolls of toilet paper!! Stop the madness!” — Goodboy e-mail, 3/17/20.

My good Goodboys pal couldn’t have said it better: for New England Patriots fans the shock of learning that GOAT QB Tom Brady had chosen to exercise his right as a free agent not to return to the Patriots for the 2020 season was bad enough, but then to hear ol’ TB12 had chosen that hotbed of professional football Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay! – as his new professional football destination, on St. Patrick’s Day, no less!, was enough to make one search for the closest non-quarantined establishment to drown one’s misery in a growler of Guinness.

Look, I don’t blame Brady for wanting to squeeze another 2-3 years of competition with a team that, unlike the Patriots, will assent to his every whim and desire – he’s most certainly earned that right, but that’s something coach Bill Belichick would never allow. I’m guessing in some Foxboro Stadium back room Belichick has been saying to owner Bob Kraft that it was going to be either Brady or him, that the team had gotten everything out of TB12 that was humanly possible, and that based on the latter’s inconsistent performance on the field in 2019 the trend wasn’t TB12’s friend. Sentimental feelings aside, I’m guessing the majority of “In Bill We Trust” Patriots fans are willing to see Belichick’s side of things – at least until the Patriots play like some .500 team come September (if things are anywhere close to back to normal by then).

Which brings me to the other meaning behind this post. It’s not because of the COVID-19 China virus – I still believe a lot of this hysteria is nothing but bullshit whipped up by a mainstream media looking to do whatever it can to destroy President Trump – but the nationwide response to it, courtesy of dimwitted and ambitious politicians at the mnational, state, and local levels, that is going to destroy the world as both you and I know it. Oh I don’t mean we’ll lose our houses, livelihoods, or lifestyles – at least not in significant ways, at least for now. But I thought as I was driving to the local Fry’s to sift through whatever might be left amongst the ravaged supermarket shelves and seeing my gym (Desert Fitness) closed, along with any number of local restaurants along the way due to COVID-19 hysteria, that many may never open back up again.

I think about all our locally-owned businesses – be they gyms, restaurants, shops, or whatever, and think about how their owners probably live their lives on the margins, making enough money to be successful, perhaps, but not rich by any stretch of the imagination. They prosper during the winter “snowbird” season here, making enough money to prosper and keep them going after the snowbirds depart until their return next fall. I think about how hard they work – being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 life in which you sink everything you have in terms of money, passion, and commitment. Now think about your favorite haunts, be they restaurants, bars, stores, and the like. What happens if this hysteria lasts beyond mid-April? Into May, June, or even July? How many of these places that have come to be a part of your daily lives and routines are ever going to see the light of day again? I hate to be a pessimist, but I’m guessing the impact of this hysteria is going to drive a majority of them – perhaps a vast majority – out of business forever. I think about my favorite restaurants and haunts back in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Orleans. Will I ever see them again?

When you think about it, it’s both infuriating and saddening.

Unfortunately, this is the world we now live in: the Patriots are going to start over with (hopefully) some young and hopefully exciting quarterback, and we will see what’s left of the landscape in another 8-12 weeks. I’m praying it won’t look a whole lot different, but I fear the worst. And this is what happens when you have a mainstream media who will stoop at nothing – not even the destruction of this country – to do whatever it takes to destroy a president who had the audacity to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency she so richly deserved in 2016. Because that’s what it all boils down to. Mass hysteria invoked by a bunch of petty, elitist Democratic Party operatives disguised as so-called “journalists”.

…and if we as a country allow the media and all their sycophants on the liberal left to destroy everything we have come to know as familiar and joyful in our lives because of folks and something that petty, perhaps we deserve everything we get.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 23:09 | Comments (0)

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