May 29, 2020

I needed a haircut today so I went to my usual barber, the place I was going to before this whole Coronavirus thing started. I walked in the door, saw everyone inside were wearing masks, both barbers and customers. They have a hostess who greets me, asks if I have an appointment. I look around the place – three barbers, three people getting a haircut, no one waiting. “No”, I reply, “do I need one?” She tells me everyone needs an appointment. Hey, I’m in retail now, so my keen sense tells me the customer experience is already off to a bad start.

“Can’t I just sit here and wait for a chair?”
“You can if you make an appointment.”
“Can I make an appointment for fifteen minutes from now?”
“You can, but you’ll need to wear a mask.”

Just so y’all know, here is my stance, and I’m not backing away from it one iota. I am NOT wearing a mask anywhere, unless it involves a medical appointment of some kind. This whole COVID-19 business has been a sham from the very beginning. Sure, I was OK with all the lock-downs at the beginning, but that was only because no one – not the government, not the CDC, the NIH, or anyone – knew what the heck they were dealing with. China wasn’t helping in the least, and the models were all saying millions were going to die. So absent of any reliable data, the models were all that anyone had to go by. So I get it. As it turns, we have ~ 90K dead in the USA, and had Democratic governors irresponsibly and recklessly not sent elderly folk with the COVID-19 into the nursing homes and long-term care facilities in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Illinois you’re probably looking at no more than 50K dead at the most – no more than a bad flu season. If you want to call me a grandma killer, go for it – but I’m not wearing a mask. And there is no science out there that I’ve seen yet that convinces me I need to wear a mask. Even “Dr. Doom” now admits to that.

I tell the hostess, “I don’t have a mask.”
One of the barbers says, “Don’t leave! We have masks you can wear.”
“I’m not wearing a mask. Period.”, and I walk out the door.

Fifteen minutes later I go to another barber just ten minutes from my house. I stop at my house on the way and grab the mask I wear when I go to my doctor appointments just in case – I’ve decided that if they force the issue on me, I can tolerate one for twenty minutes for a #1 buzz if I have to; I really want to get a haircut.

The mask is in my pocket as I walk in the door. Four barbers wearing masks, none of the three gentlemen being serviced wearing masks. I get my haircut from a very nice girl named Jessica. She does a great job, and I tip her $40 for an $18 dollar haircut as a thank you for opening up in a reasonable fashion.

Question: Which barber shop would YOU rather work at? The ones who play scared, or the ones that want to make money?

My money goes to the latter.

Which is why if you want me to use your service, ANY service, whatever kind it might be, be it a barber, a retail store, an airline, a restaurant, whatever – if you’re going to force me to wear a mask, you can force it on someone else because you’re not getting my business.

Period.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:57 | Comments (0)
May 28, 2020

Finished my second week of excellence in pool supply retailing this week and all continues to go well. I’ve learned a lot and am still learning, but it’s all starting to come to me easier now. My store manager thinks I’m a great asset to the store, we’re kicking ass in sales compared to last year (we’re already 138% over what we were budgeted for this year), and its a fun and informative place to work. Sure, it would have been nice to have a “Summer of Doug” to just relax and decompress from my prior job, but I’m not sure I would have been able to just sleep in and putter around the house.

In my mind, the ideal “next life” would involve a job that allowed me to continue working from home, but without all the stress of my former job. Absent that, I was more than willing to accept a part-time, 2-3 days a week/24 to 28 hours job that would be 180 degrees different from what I had been doing. As I’ve said in this space before, were I ten, or even five, years younger, it would be an entirely different story – concessions would have to be made, and I don’t think they would be very good ones. I know that already – the further I get from the healthcare IT meat grinder, the less inclined I feel to ever want to go back to that ever again.

How do I know that? Well, the store manager wanted me to listen in on the weekly corporate sales call call a week ago Monday. I don’t know what it is about corporate senior management: no matter what the industry is, they all seem to sound alike and use the same tired phrases, phrasing, and buzz-speak (i.e., bullshit) no matter where you go. They’re all pushing folks to work harder while claiming to be concerned about everyone protecting their personal lives. They’re always pushing for more revenue and greater resource retention, but heaven forbid if your good workers seek to be paid more than minimum wage. No matter what you are doing well, it can always be done better (there’s no sitting on one’s laurels, for sure!), and anything akin to bad news is always couched in terms of “opportunities”. It’s such bullshit. And just listening to whoever the asshole was that was speaking gave me flashbacks to my prior work existence. So this week, I just let the assistant store manager listen in, contenting myself with store cleaning and shelf stocking and arranging.

It’s still a little difficult reconciling this new life with my old one. I miss my fellow team members from my prior gig. I miss the action. I miss the feeling of accomplishment and making the seemingly impossible possible and the exceeding of expectations whenever we accomplished something no one expected. And yes, I guess at least mentally I’m missing the stress. I’m not missing the money yet because I’ll still be receiving my severance pay through August, but I sure will come September. But by then I think I’ll be feeling better about everything anticipating when I turn sixty-five in October and start receiving my pension from an even more former life; it’s not a huge one but it’s not peanuts, either. By that time I expect this pool supply gig will be ending (it will be the pool off-season) and I can then figure out what, if anything, will come next.

But that just seems so far in the future right now. It seems more important for me to take every day as it comes and enjoy it for what it is.

I guess the bottom line is that I wasn’t quite ready to be “early retired”. I guess I always thought my retirement (whenever it came) would come on my terms and in my own time frame, not someone else’s, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to that. Perhaps when I turn sixty-five early retirement will feel more natural and come more naturally to me. While I’m still sixty-four, however, I’ll just have to learn to deal with it. I will say this: I’m just glad I was able to make it this far and be in a financial position where I don’t have to hit the bricks and find another IT gig that paid somewhat near to what I was making – psychologically I think that would be very difficult for me to do.

So I’ll just continue to do this pool supply retail gig and enjoy it while it lasts. I’m fortunate that it doesn’t really feel like work: with the severance pay I’m getting, the little pay I’m receiving (and it is little, I can tell you that!) feels more like house money than anything else. It’s 180 degrees different from anything remotely resembling what I was doing just two months ago, so it all still feels unnatural and not a little bit unreal. The hours themselves are a little more than what I originally wanted: I’ll be averaging ~ 30 hours a week Sundays to Wednesdays given the longer store hours the corporate dick-heads are demanding. But I’ll still be getting three days off (including one weekend day), and it’s not really getting in the way of anything else I had planned, so that’s plenty good enough for my first foray into “early retirement”.

And if this is what the “Summer of Doug” is going to look like, than so be it.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:20 | Comments (0)
May 23, 2020

It’s Memorial Day weekend and I’ll be working Sunday and Monday. But that’s OK, will still have plenty of time to relax after work with some steaks, burgers, and dogs on the grill and then enjoy some cocktails under happy pineapple lights while listening to the outdoor poker party my neighbor Keith has every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. I really like sitting outside and listening to the festivities next door; listen I feel like the scene in “The Great Gatsby” where Tom next door eats his steak (or was it a pork chop?) he cooked on his little stove top while watching the outside gala just across the lawn. It’s a real summer treat for me, reminds me of the time my brother Mark and I, in true “Gatsby fashion”, threw a party at our house and never came down to visit the folks we invited. Good memories.

But this weekend is not about outdoor festivities, and this year our collective hearts should be heavy as we remember not only those who have died in service to our country over the years, but those who have died needlessly as a result of reckless and unconscionable conduct on the parts of our public officials who basically condemned untold numbers of elderly to death needlessly. When all is said and done, the Coronovirus will be seen primarily as a “nursing home” death deliverer, and needlessly so:


(Hat tip: Brian Cates per Clay Travis)

As Clay also tweets:

Why did Democratic governors make disastrous decision to send infected nursing home patients back into nursing homes? Because they believed media fear porn models saying hospitals were going to be overloaded. They were trying to reduce capacity, which they didn’t end up needing.

The fact this isn’t the number one story in America is a massive media failure. And you can bet it would be the number one story in America if it had been Republican governors in red states making this mistake instead of Democratic governors in blue states.

The only way the media will cover this grotesque scandal (in my view, the biggest in American political history, even eclipsing the emerging truths involving ObamaGate (after all, no one died because of ObamaGate) – is when the class-action lawsuits start flying (because they will) and state officials either resign or go to jail (because they will) after the grand juries get finished with them. You can bet on it.

…the fact is, what the governors in New York, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have done is beyond anything anyone can imagine. If it were just ignorance – yeah, I suppose one could conjure up some kind of excuse for that – but what little data there was was out there (remember that first nursing home in Washington state), and the Trump administration had built temporary hospitals in all of these states that ended up going virtually unused. This was nothing more than WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE, and the full extent of the negligence involved is just now starting to come to light.

…the national media, of course, won’t cover it, but there are dozens of local media that are going to forced to cover it because of the sheer extent of the carnage involved. This is beyond a disgrace; I believe it will be a watershed moment in American history, something that will force us as a country and as a society to change entirely the way we treat our senior citizens.

…and what it will also show is just how much a bunch of ASSHOLES these Democratic governors have been. These are vile, reprehensible, tin-horn dictators drunk on power and surrounded by political flacks, hacks, and incompetents completely incapable of making decisions involving the public good. I’d like to think there will be a political price to pay, but Democrats and liberals in “blue states” are either too stupid to see, or more than willingly ignorant to acknowledge the destruction these governors have caused. Or, perhaps more than that, they just don’t give a shit if they’re not personally affected.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:51 | Comments (0)
May 21, 2020

Today was my first day off since taking the pool supply store gig, six days of deep dive into the pool supply retail industry. It’s been a lot of fun – the guys I work with are fun to work with and very laid back. So far all the customers I’ve met have been quite nice and eager for assistance with maintaining the quality of their pool water. I must say that I’ve gotten pretty damned good at working the water testing machine. Right now I’m leaving the more difficult interpretations of the chemistry read-out to the veterans who have seen everything there is to see, but I can handle the most obvious ones – no chlorine, the pH needing to be tweaked with acid, the ones with phosphates through the roof needing an intervention to prevent an outbreak of algae. I can handle that. The same with stocking shelves, rotating inventory, helping with the weekly truck supply.

It’s not as if I went into this job a complete novice: I’ve been through cartridge, sand, and glass media filters over the past 16+ years. And, as a result of our “bee experience” a few years back I’m considered the store’s “bee expert”. But there are areas where I’m going to need a bit more experience, like when a customer needs his pool vacuum refurbished or repaired. When the store manager saw me take apart half of a vacuum to resolve an issue with a gear clogged with palm tree debris, he immediately assumed I could fix just about anything involving pool vacuums. Boy was he wrong! I fairly well butchered a vacuum repair a vacuum rebuild on Tuesday (had I chance to take it apart first it probably wouldn’t have gone so poorly, but the vacuum was already taken apart when I got in that morning and I had to figure out for myself what went where), but the lady didn’t come back complaining so I must have got it working in some fashion.

All in all it’s been a good experience. Once Memorial Day weekend is over I’ll start my normal Sunday through Wednesday schedule, which will be perfect. Any more than four days a week at approx. 25-28 hours is really all I’m interested in right now. But there’s still a bunch of training I have to complete as well as get more familiar with filters and filter parts in general, so the shakedown cruise continues. As I told my store manager, this is 180 degrees from what I used to do for a living, so it has been a hoot. It all still seems like a dream.

…….

Arizona has opened up pretty much everything, so today being the twins’ birthday we all went out to a local Mexican restaurant for a sit-down dinner. The staff there all wore masks, but they were about the only ones in a restaurant that was surprisingly crowded for a Thursday afternoon. It felt great being out in public again. You hear so much negativity from the media, both local and national, that it is refreshing to talk with people who have been the most impacted by the lock-down and to hear their stories. In our server’s case, she and her husband came through fairly OK – she didn’t go on unemployment, but her husband did. Their mortgage company game them three month’s relief from having to make a mortgage payment and they both got stimulus checks, so they have been able to weather the storm OK. The food was great and she was nice, so we made sure she got a much larger tip than she normally would have.

I feel bad for people in “blue” states run by tyrranical governors intent on destroying people’s livelihoods simply out of spite, ignorance, or their power-hungry trip. They keep talking “science” but the overwhelming “science” says all states, “red” or “blue” need first to protect its elderly citizens in nursing homes and long-term care facilities from known killers and then open up for everyone else. To not do so is to deliberately sabotage their own economies. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? States survive on tax revenues; if you’re deliberately cutting off those revenue streams you’re cutting off the very tree limb you happen to be sitting on. And for what? To make sure Donald Trump doesn’t get re-elected? To impose your own authority over others? How stupid is that. Here in Arizona we have our own issues trying to convince our governor to take more bold steps, but we are open for business – good for us, good for California folks within driving distance of our own service industries. Maybe they’ll consider moving here and in doing so leaving their liberal politics behind!

But of course, not everyone is happy about our economy opening up. Conversation overheard between the Mexican restaurant’s hostess and one of the waiters:

She: So, are you glad to finally be back at work?

He: No.

You can’t please everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:40 | Comments (0)
May 16, 2020

“…the days drift by, they don’t have names…” — Jimmy Buffett, “I Have Found Me A Home”

This is gonna be a quick post because, frankly, I’m tired.

So here I am in the middle of my six-day deep-drive into pool supply retailing. My left knee hurts from all the standing I’ve been doing while doing water tests and register work, but it has been both interesting and rewarding work. I’m part of a three-man team that runs the store, but I’ve already been accepted as part of our little team. The gig itself couldn’t be more different than my previous life and job: I’ve got a fifteen-minute commute (all service roads), and I now wear khakis and a t-shirt with a name badge as my “professional wear”. Sure, the pay sucks – just a little bit over minimum wage – but the pay isn’t why I took this job to begin with. It has felt great to get out of the house and learn something new. When all is said and done, I’ll be working ~ 6 1/2 hours a day, four days a week, but right now it’s the equivalent of basic training: instead of six weeks at like, say, Fort Bragg, Georgia, I’m basic training in the Arizona equivalent of a California surf shop. It’s got the same kind of laid-back vibe and chill – the clientele couldn’t be more different than my previous job, they’re actually happy and nice- but it still demands the same kind of inside knowledge that only comes from experience. It sure is a whole lot different than what I used to do for a living! I’m really enjoying myself.

I’ve heard the same stories about this kind of thing from others around here. If it’s because of supply chain issues, fine – but it’s wrong to blame your cost increases on the COVID-19 shutdown and expect people to pay the increases because a lot of their clients have also been impacted as well.

I’ll say this: you you won’t catch me at a sit-down restaurant while those serving me are wearing masks and gloves. I’m just not interested in buying into the hysteria over COVID-19. The fact is, the models were wrong, the so-called “experts” were wrong, the CDC and FDA have been wrong, our public health officials employing a “one size fits all” lock-down remedy that would have been largely averted and tens of thousands of lives saved had care and concern been focused on nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and Democratic and (in the case of Massachusetts) RINO (Republican in name only) governors acting like third-world despots shutting down individual rights and freedoms in the name of “science” that doesn’t exist. It’s pathetic, and it’s a joke I want no part of.

…as a result, I’ve decided to cancel my scheduled trip back to Massachusetts for July and Goodboys Invitational weekend (if it is even held). I did this after the Jet Blue person couldn’t assure me that I wouldn’t have to wear masks and gloves from the point of entering security at Phoenix Sky Harbor to departing security at Logan Airport. F**k that! I’m not wearing a mask and gloves for the better part of eight hours. I’d rather stay home and do pool retailing.

…besides, Massachusetts has gone nuts. I’m not interested in being immersed in the kind of insanity and tyranny going on in “blue” states. Those people are nuts, and I’m not having anything to do with it.

…which is why I’ve decided to put golf on hold until the fall, ditch the Sam Summers I would normally be drinking for Boston Lagers, and just focus n enjoying my so-called “early retirement”. Nothing seems to be the same anymore, and I’m OK accepting that. I know I still need time to decompress from my old job and prior existence (my body is telling me that in any number of ways), so I’m just gonna roll with this right now and take it as an opportunity I could never have imagined just two months ago. It’s all so very bizarre.

A couple of final things:

Yeah, I know if you are using Google Chrome to view this site the Exec-Comm pic at the top of the page is displaying sideways. I don’t know what that is, I need some time to look at why the orientation is off only with Chrome.

Does this mean liberals care about borders after all? Just wondering…

I keep thinking the Joe Biden campaign (which is already running on fumes and propped up solely by mainstream media only the most fervent Democrats and liberals pay attention to – something I’ve heard from certain “folks in the know” I trust from 2016 who got it right), but now there is this – and from Yahoo! News, no less. Honest to God, you can’t make this crap up.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:42 | Comments (0)
May 14, 2020

Didn’t I just call this, like, the other day? I keep trying to tell y’all the best I can, but if you don’t listen to The Great White Shank you have… chosen unwisely. But seriously, folks need to go to jail for this – with Andrew Cuomo’s New York at the top of the list. These people, the ones supposedly sworn to uphold the public trust, have been negligent beyond any form of a reasonable doubt. These kinds of reckless and irresponsible actions taken by privileged, elitist, and incompetent bureaucrats reveal them to be nothing more than “do as I say, not as I do” assholes. They are bastards, and the media covering up for all of them makes them the same. It is a disgrace.

I think Marc Thiessen is right about this. You read stories like this and it just breaks your heart. In this particular case you have elitist bureaucrats (who, by the way, haven’t lost one paycheck since this whole Coronavirus thing started) making decisions that are destroying folks’ lives and businesses, and for what? To impose their patently illegal, tin-pot dictator orders upon a helpless populace? And all of this be executive order, as if everyone just has to take it up the a** because someone else says so? It’s a disgrace. As Charlie Camosy summarizes on his Twitter site:

Why don’t these facts lead the news? why aren’t LTC facilities and state officials hounded by investigative reporters? why isn’t our national COVID strategy geared toward protecting nursing homes?

No excuses: we knew from the beginning…outbreak started in a WA nursing home

This chart tells the real story, and it is a national disgrace. That last line is going to send a lot of people to jail and result in millions of dollars in criminal negligent wrongful death settlements with “blue” states that are already awash in debt due to corruption and mismanagement. And you think taxpayers from “red” states ought to bail these folks out? I. Don’t. Think. So.

I guarantee things are going to look a whole lot different in just a few weeks. As The Ramones sang, “the sun is out and I want some.” People aren’t going to stand for it, and rebellion is in the air. I just wish President Trump would be more vocal in his support for all these small businesses that are going under for no reason at all.

…people are then going to be able to look at how Democratic-led states handled the COVID-19 crisis and the actions they have taken and compare that to how Republican-led states did, and they will see it hasn’t been pretty. Of course, Democratic voters won’t care – they’re ignorant out of their blind hate for President Trump. But most independent and unaffiliated voters have a brain, and they won’t be so kind to the Democrats in their assessments. There is nothing good that has come out of this, but it sure has put a laser beam beam on the difference between historically corrupt and mismanaged states like New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, and California, and the rest of the country. It is a butcher’s bill that is long past due.

Seems to me Mark Kelly, currently the odds-on favorite to defeat Arizona senator Martha McSally in November, has some ‘splainin’ to do. If McSally’s campaign doesn’t ram this down the throats of Arizona’s voters with a series of concise, well-done television ads she’s more incompetent than I think she is.

I read this and I’m confused: after all Joe Biden, the mainstream media, Democrats, and CNN / MSNBC / NPR, et al, all have been telling me President Trump wants us all to die. Sounds like leadership to me.

Another spot-on Twitter post by the great Larry Schweikart. Personally, I’m still of the belief that anything and everything could happen between now and November, but since everyone else seems to be polling and prognosticating during a time of uncertainty and a national emergency, I’ll allow that I think he’s onto something.

Don’t look now, but the Biden campaign is imploding. When you have members of the media defending their own against a Democrat’s campaign operative you know you’re in trouble.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:38 | Comments (0)
May 13, 2020

Given the recent events of the past few days involving the release of transcripts clearly illustrating Obama administration officials deliberately lying to the media about “Russia collusion” involving the Trump campaign and what they testified to under threat of perjury before Congress. It’s pretty sickening stuff, considering how the Democrats and their political operatives in the mainstream media used the past three years to poison a large segment of the public in trying to convince them of something they knew never existed to begin with. If Democratic congressman Adam Schiff had any sense of shame he would resign in disgrace. But as we’ve seen with the Democrats and the media in this Trump era, there is no shame, and everything they do is designed to take the President out this November.

You watch this clip from “All The President’s Men” and it is hard not to see history repeating itself. Change the names from Haldeman and Nixon to then-CIA director John Brennan and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and consider the actions of FBI Director James Comey and agents Peter Strozk and Lisa Page, and all the pieces start to fit together. Simply put (and the truth will inevitably come out), the Obama administration had been conducting a vast amount of electronic surveillance against its political adversaries for years. Lots of folks are talking about FISA application abuse, but the FISA application was just one tool in their toolkit. They knew Lt. General Michael Flynn knew about this, and in order to: (1) keep the scope of their ongoing surveillance efforts hidden, and (2) continue that surveillance against incoming Trump administration officials with the goal of ultimately taking the President out, they went after Flynn without mercy. They concocted a scheme whereby Flynn’s words could be twisted into a document that would make Flynn appear to be lying in order to coerce him into pleading guilty for perjury and avoiding the FBI going after his son for cooked-up the Logan Act violations. In taking this extraordinary route it was clear removing Flynn as a roadblock to plans to remove Trump from office was of great interest to then-President Barack Obama.

This isn’t me pushing some conspiracy theory: Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse has laid it all out, step by step. Again, it is breathtaking in its scope, and is a must-read for anyone interested in just how corrupt our nation’s intelligence community both operated, and were allowed to operate, with Barack Obama’s complete knowledge and support.

I’m not sure, frankly, where this all goes from here. Sure, you have the ongoing investigations authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr, but one can only imagine the kind of behind the scenes intrigue going on – after all there is a lot at stake here. But, it’s a virtual lock that, in the words of “Deep Throat” history is repeating itself, and when it came to the Obama administration, “Everyone is involved”. It’s sickening.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:17 | Comments (0)
May 12, 2020

I remember watching a Ben Affleck flick “The Company Men” after it was released back in 2010. The movie tracks the lives of three men in senior levels of a company who are laid off as part of a salary dump in advance of a hostile take-over. The story tracks what each person does when the rug is pulled out from under them. One commits suicide out of his depression, and Affleck’s character takes on menial work in his brother-in-law’s construction company to keep some money coming in as he has to down-size his life significantly. The movie frightened me at the time, because I was still in my early-to mid 50s and even back then wasn’t sure my place in my company was secure. Made me wonder how I would handle losing my job and having to find something new.

…well, I was one of the lucky ones. Sure, I had hoped to squeeze out my former life for another 2 1/2 years – the idea being, make it to 67 and start taking my social security on top of a pension from an even earlier work life – taken together it wasn’t going to be a bad existence, especially with Tracey still (hopefully) working.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) that didn’t happen. My enforced early retirement wasn’t what I was looking for. I’m just not the kind of guy to sleep in then hang around the house all day thinking about new ways to entertain myself. That’s something Peach the rabbit is very good at, but he doesn’t speak to me when I speak to him.

Fortunately, I’d been thinking about the kind of work I would like to do in the case I ended up losing my job. Once I got over the huge hurdle of being 62 (and with the help of our Edelman Financial advisor who has helped us immensely to get our financial house in order) I wasn’t concerned with having to hit the bricks to find another IT job – most especially one that would require me to work in a real business office full-time. I’m not closing the door to another full-time IT position, but it would have to be at least 80% remote for me to even consider it, no matter how good the money might be. One day or the occasional trip into the office for a meeting? That would be OK, but the days of working in an office five days a week are over. Like Tracey has told me, I’ve paid my dues.

Even before I lost my job I had laid out the general outlines of the kind of job I would look for when the time was right. I had no problem with it being minimum wage if it meant learning something new and exciting. And I know I didn’t want to work more than 24 hours in a week. I had always found the idea of working at a UPS Store fascinating, so that was on my list. Swimming pool stores were also on my list – the idea being, if I lived in California I would want to work in a surf shop. Since I live in Arizona, the next best thing involving water would be a marine store or a swimming pool store. I don’t know a thing about boats, so the idea of working at a marine store would be out. But I do know about swimming pools and swimming pool operations in general, so I started looking around for part-time positions at one of the major retail chains around here as well as the local joint I’ve been using for many years. And then there was Lowe’s and Total Wine and More – two other chains that I think would be fascinating to work for.

So two weeks ago the online job searches began. Found part-time positions being offered at all the places I was interested in. Submitted the applications, got my cover letter writing skills back in shape, decided to have some business cards drawn up so that after submitting an application I could stop by the actual store, introduce myself, then drop off a card. In this totally internet age the personal touch becomes all the more important. At least that’s my view.

Well, I haven’t gotten my business cards done yet, but I did get a response from one of the pool supply stores. We talked over the phone, followed up with a brief face-to-face meet, and I got the job. It’s a little more in terms of hours than I originally planned (I’ll be working around 30 per week, Sundays through Wednesdays), but the work is (at least from the sound of it) only through September. But that’s OK by me: as far as I’m concerned it’s a win-win situation: (1) I get to learn a new trade that will get me out of the house four days a week; (2) I get to learn a new trade I know little about, at least rom a retail perspective; (3) if they like me they can either choose to keep me on past September, or perhaps even pick me back up next spring when the pool season starts up all over again; (4) I get needed retail experience, which will help he if I end up not liking this, or Total Wine and More calls during the holiday season for help; (5) while I won’t be making a lot of money, I’ll be making virtually the same I would were I to take unemployment (you don’t get a lot here in Arizona).

As I said, I can afford to try this since we are in a pretty good place financially. Besides, I’m still getting severance and will be through the end of August, so it’s a perfect time to try something entirely different. If it doesn’t work out I’ll go on unemployment and anticipate taking my pension from an even earlier job life when I turn 65 in October. And, I’ll still keep in regular touch with the outplacement agency I’ve been set up with from my former company, but they know what I’m I’m looking for. If something were to drop into my hands, great – it’s not as if this pool supply gig is a “make or break” career decision.

I know I’m of the lucky ones: I got through the necessary stage of life that “The Company Men” movie so freaked me out about. I feel awful for all those who my company let go who are much younger than me, have a career to nurture and a family to feed. So I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity and give it a spin like a top, not knowing where it will ultimately lead.

Training starts today!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:04 | Comments (2)
May 11, 2020

Sure you read this and wonder why, but that will change over the next several months as the wrongful death lawsuits start flying. Cuomo (like his brother at CNN) is a fraud, a corrupt and incompetent bully who is protected by a mainstream media desperate to contrast something – anything – with the Trump administration’s response to the Corovirus crisis.

…unlike Cuomo, I think the majority of the American public – those who who don’t live and breathe everything CNN, MSNBC, and NPR tells them – know that the Trump administration did the best they could, and responded the best way they knew how, given the information (and the lack thereof) available to them at the time. Most folks also know the administration was dealt a shitty hand by China, and as the states all start opening up and the economy roars back to life, how each state’s governors handled the crisis will be given more scrutiny. And in Cuomo’s case, it won’t be pretty.

While most folks (and not without justification) would choose the solo in “Something” as George Harrison’s best-ever Beatles guitar solo, I keep going back to his snarling, grunge-y solos in both the middle and on the outro on the Phil Spector-produced version of “Let It Be”. Like a good guitar solo should, it takes the song to a different place – in this case, by providing a yang to the angelic ying of McCartney’s composition. There are a lot of folks on YouTube who enjoy replicating Harrison’s performance; this is the one I think is best.

…speaking of the Beatles, some folks are hyping the latest “feud” between McCartney and Mick Jagger as far as the age-old question of which band was better. Sure, you could make the argument that the Stones have had more longevity and a far greater body of work in contrast to the Fab Four, but in my mind there’s no question any band could ever be compared to The Beatles in terms of sheer talent and impact across not just rock music, but world culture as well:

For everything we know about The Beatles, a group whose every movement and utterance has been pored over by fans and scholars in the decades since they split up, they still retain a quality of mystery. The unanswerable questions have nothing to do with the dry facts of recording dates and production technology, it is the magic of the moment: what really happened? How did so much music of such originality and depth and wit, drama, colour and emotional richness come to be channelled through four young Liverpudlian rockers in such a condensed framework of space and time? In seven packed years, The Beatles changed everything.

It was, of course, something to do with the exact combination of individuals, particularly the very different yet remarkably complimentary (and competitive) musical and lyrical talents of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and the supportive talents and personalities of gifted guitarist George Harrison and easy going, distinctive drummer Ringo Starr. The enabling skills of producer George Martin played a huge part, too. And it was something to do with the era, when rock was young and there was so much still to be discovered.

But that’s not enough. That’s not quite it. The Beatles made music that was bigger than themselves, greater than the sum of their considerable parts. When you listen to their records, the music just overwhelms analysis, it burst through with a pulsating vitality of its own, it comes alive again every single time. These are the greatest records ever made, by the greatest band that ever was.

Y’see, not only did the Fabs have three excellent singers, but by the end of their career they also had three prolific song writers whose compositions could stand up to anyones.

…I would also argue that The Beatles’ career, in effect, carried on for another four years. Think about it: between 1970-74 McCartney, Lennon, Harrison (and to a lesser extent, Ringo) produced a number of albums that critics will include in the greatest 500 rock albums of all time – for example, “All Things Must Pass”, “Plastic Ono Band”, “Ram”, “Imagine”, “Ringo”, “Band On The Run”, and “Living In The Material World. After 1974 their creative talents took off in different directions, but before that you could make the argument that within these albums (and in McCartney’s case, single releases) there could have been at least an additional four albums that would have been considered great.

…still, in the end it’s the music that they made together that counts, and in my view their greatness and their deserved spot at the of rock’s greatest bands can be justified simply by taking a look not their albums, but their singles releases. It’s eye-popping and mind-boggling that so many of their singles contained iconic music that still stands the test of time 50+ years later.

I read stories like this and am sooooo glad to have moved out of Massachusetts. Just another example of – contrary to their reputation of believing in tolerance, acceptance, and adversity – these are liberals and Democrats who are nothing more than mean, petty, and angry elitists who basically – yes – suck as human beings.

…Democrats like Chuck Schumer hate President Trump so much that they would rather see people die and than prove him – and others – right on the use of hydroxychloroquine. Unlike the clowns at the CDC who have mishandled this crisis from the very beginning, there is actual data to prove that, when administered correctly (the key here), the drug works, and as a French doctor has proven, incredibly well. One would think that Senator Schumer would take the high road on this and not spout media talking points, but assholes gotta be assholes.

You knew sooner or later the media would get around to blaming President Trump for the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. I’m just surprised it took this long. These people are shameless race-baiters.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:19 | Comments (0)
May 9, 2020

When all is said and done I think folks are going to look back on this past week as the week that the whole “Russia Collusion” began to fall apart on its own merits. As they say, sunlight is the greatest disinfectant, and sunlight there has been. The dominoes are starting to tumble, and now that the truth is starting to come out expect the cockroaches in the country’s intelligence community to start crawling out from under the baseboards to save their sorry asses. And when all is said and done it isn’t going to be pretty.

Scratch one from this number. Me? I just got me a job at a national pool supply company and I’m totally stoked about the opportunity. Not only am I going to be learning a new trade, I’ll be getting paid on top of my severance pay. Right now it will be minimum wage, but it’s a total win-win as far as I’m concerned. It will gets me out of the house and interacting with, like, real human beings while learning all kinds of new stuff and exercising my brain; in the long run I’m hoping it will provide enough of an income to help contributes to the household cause.

…my new boss is very similar to me: he worked in the pharmacy industry for over thirty years and decided to get out of the meat grinder. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he was too good at what he did and they ended up giving him his own store. Now he’s trying to back off on the number of hours, so that’s where your’s truly comes in.

…it just just goes to show that if you identify what your passions are and are willing to doing a little bit of digging in order to pursue those passions good things can happen. I’m not going into this with my eyes half closed: who knows? I might decide in the end that it’s not my kind of gig. But everyone wants to be wanted, and I’m excited to find something that’s far more chill than what I was doing before.

Do y’all miss sports? I can honestly say I don’t. I haven’t watched a sports channel ever since everything got cancelled, and I really don’t care if I ever watch a sporting event or a sports channel ever again. This whole COVID-19 thing is just more evidence of how pampered and phony all these sports figures are and have been. Not to mention the sports media industry that has been created to turn athletes into larger-than-life figures whose performances folks actually make a living to talk about incessantly. The whole business is nothing but a fraud, and I don’t plan on supporting it ever again.

…most especially (at least as far as I’m concerned) that includes the MLB Network and GOLF Channel. Hey I’ll admit: I used to tune into them purely out of habit, and yes I did enjoy watching them. But I haven’t watched a second of either since this whole crisis thing started, and you know what? I don’t miss them in the least. I’ve let my GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest subscriptions expire, and I’m never going back again.

…and the same holds true for the golf game. Something I used to live and die over. Now, for whatever reason, I have zero interest in even picking up my clubs again. Of course, that could change over the long run, but right now there’s nothing – nothing – about golf I miss. It all just seems so (to put it in COVID-19 terms) non-essential.

What, then, are my interests, you might ask? Time. That’s what interests me. Realizing every moment that I have the time to savor that moment. There are no calls, no crises, no bullshit from senior managers. Instead, there are the mockingbirds and mourning doves whose own inner time clocks measure my days. There’s reading – right now I’m working on three different Kindle books at once: a wacky Key West series book by Laurence Shames, the first in a series of delightful novels by Adele Abbot about a private investigator who discovers she’s a witch, a hard-hitting expose on the “Russia Collusion” hoax by Greg Jarrett. Cocktail hour at 5 PM and a late-night Pinot Grigio nite-cap under happy pineapple lights. If you’re looking for where The Great White Shank is right now, that’s where I am. Life is slow. I’m happy. It all seems like a dream.

Remember the mainstream media – and yes, that includes President Trump – freaking out about the state of Georgia opening up earlier and in a number of ways beyond what the President and his task force wanted? Well lookee here. I’ll allow y’all to draw your own conclusions. The fact is: folks need to get outside in the warm sun, circulate, and create the “herd immunity” against the COVID-19 virus just in case a “second wave” were to come in the fall. It’s so elementary, it’s beyond my comprehension that Democratic state tyrants don’t understand this.

…but of course they have other agendas in mind. These people are a bunch of assholes.

One thing is becoming abundantly clear: if they don’t open up their states the residents of those states will open it up for them. As they should. And if they don’t I say sue their sorry asses off. You hit ’em in the pocketbook, you’ll get their attention. Like that Texas hair salon owner who was put in jail – in jail! – for wanting to feed to feed her kids.

…but when it comes to Democrats nothing surprises me anymore. They are crooks, pure and simple. No morals. No sense of shame.

R.I.P. Little Richard. Without a doubt, one of the all-time greats of rock n’ roll, and one of the most influential.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:38 | Comments (0)

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