January 24, 2017

I thought the above to be pretty funny. I stole it from one of the posters on The Conservative Treehouse.

OK, now onto the business at hand. Consider this post deadly serious, because, frankly, I’m a little pissed, and it’s taken me a day to think about what I wanted to write so there would be no confusion over the sentiments expressed.

I read about things like this occurring and I am truly worried about what the heck is going on in this country. Look, I understand that there are folks out there who don’t like President Trump, and even despise him. Count some of my Goodboys friends among them. I get it: the guy has been a lightning rod ever since he came on the scene decades ago. There are plenty of those like him out there: brash, hard-driving New Yorkers full of themselves and abounding in self-confidence to the point of being obnoxious. But there’s only one that to date has transcended what constitutes as politics these days to become the President of the United States.

This can be unsettling to some, I get that. They’ve never seen the likes of this before: a Republican presidential candidate who speaks what he believes without all the polish and varnish of a politician. One who isn’t afraid to punch back twice as hard when his detractors in the mainstream media and the political Left try to de-legitimize his presidency on a daily basis. All too often, Republicans have run to the shadows cowering whenever the media or Democrats accused them of being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, or whatever. Until Donald Trump came along, no one – and I mean no one was willing to be a voice for the millions of Americans who have been laughed at, sneered at, and looked down upon by the liberal elites on a regular basis for the last eight years simply because they were white, male, conservative, pro-life, Christian, (gasp!) God-fearing, or any of the above.

And now, just because someone with the balls to stand for the priorities of (gasp!) his own country ahead of globalization and the bogus religion of so-called “social justice” and political correctness, liberals and progressives everywhere are raving and drooling all over themselves like a bunch of spoiled toddlers. Frankly, it’s embarrassing. As Americans, I think we’re better than that.

But maybe we aren’t anymore.

Look, you want to march in protest? Fine. (Although I have to say I can’t recall hundreds of thousands of white, male, racist Americans gathering to protest Barack Obama’s election in 2008.) But I draw the line on violence of any kind and moonbat behavior like the woman’s above. At least (I’m guessing) she at least voted for Hillary Clinton – better than the thousands upon thousands of protesters this weekend I guarantee couldn’t even have been bothered to vote.

But here’s what I don’t get: you don’t like Donald Trump as a person? Fine. But what are you protesting against? Building a wall? Well, last time I heard, there’s nothing wrong with exerting control over one’s sovereignty and borders. Women’s rights? Tell me exactly what rights Donald Trump plans to take away. And don’t insult my intelligence by bringing up bringing up access to contraception and the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. LBGTQWXYZILGNMOPQRST rights? Tell me exactly what rights for gays and lesbians Donald Trump has said he’s going to take away. Reducing taxes and excessive regulations to create more jobs? You’d have to be a veritable moron not to want that.

I’m serious. Look, I have my own concerns with President Trump. I would have liked him to have released his taxes, although I understand why he hasn’t to date. I worry about his ability to balance straight and tough talk and diplomacy with foreign leaders, but he’s had to work closely with the most political of political foes in the past and has done alright, and he’s surrounded himself with good people, especially those from the military. Unlike the moonbats I don’t think he’s going to blow up the world, and I most certainly don’t believe he became President to enrich himself and his family. (I can guarantee you I wouldn’t have the same sentiment re: the latter had the Clintons regained the White House!)

I just wish everybody could take a breather and give the guy a chance. Like him or not, respect him or not, he is the President of the United States. You might not like it, but there’s not a heck of a lot you or anyone can do about it at the moment, is there? That’s the way elections work in this country. And don’t get me started about the popular vote vs. the Electoral College: the facts will come out about the massive voter fraud in California, Nevada, New Mexico and elsewhere because of illegals voting. Hillary probably won the popular vote, but I guarantee it wasn’t by two million votes. And at any rate, the idea of the person winning the most votes but losing in the Electoral College is not exactly unheard of in American history.

In truth, and as glad as I am that that woman was thrown off the plane – she deserved it – I feel sorry for her and those like her. Think about it for a moment: if you’re going to allow something as petty and (in the grand scheme of things) inconsequential as a presidential election to bother you to the extent that you feel the need to berate or harm strangers, or destroy property you really need to seek psychiatric help. In her case, what an empty life she must lead.

But it’s more than that. I read stories about friendships being broken off and families being torn apart simply because the other person voted for Donald Trump. To me that tells me those people weren’t very worthy friends or family members to begin with. To me it just boggles the imagination. If you want to allow the results of an election to cloud your friendships and relationships with others that’s your choice. But it’s not – at least in my view – much of a way to go through life. Actually, it’s pretty damned sad and pathetic.

Those who frequent this blog know I’ve been pretty damned hard on the Obamas and the Clintons, and liberals in general, but I’ve always said if I found myself sitting next to Michelle Obama on a plane I’d treat her like I would anyone else, offer to buy her a cocktail, and even try and get a selfie with her. You see, I can distinguish between the person and their politics.

It would be nice if those on the Left could do the same thing, if for anything but for the sake of this country. It would make the world that much nicer a place. And isn’t that why we were put here to begin with?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:23 | Comments (0)
January 22, 2017

I have two words for all the women and pseudo-women who showed up in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere to express their so-called “concerns” over a Donald Trump presidency: YOU LOST.

Normally I would consider a minimum of sympathy for the so-called “cause”, but knowing that the likes of Madonna and Ashley Judd were there, and knowing that they’re both old enough to remember Bill Clinton’s presidency, all I can say is, where were you when this man was not just engaging in locker room talk with another guy, but actually sexually abusing a White House intern, in the Oval Office? I don’t recall either of you old hags having an issue with that. In my view, actions speak louder than words.

So to all of you so-called “women’s rights” activists and social justice snowflakes, I’ll say two things: 1) I respect your right to march and organize even if I think you’re all ignorant, and 2) your agony is my joy. Get over it, and, more importantly (and seriously), get a life.

…and I think this ought to send a message that the days of a community organizer’s Justice Department allowing violent rioters to be caught and released with nothing more than a slap on the hand are over. I don’t have any problem with folks protesting, but you destroy the property of others or prevent folks from making a living and getting around, well that’s gonna be a problem. And it’s about time.

This so funny, and so true:

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:02 | Comments (0)
January 20, 2017

To all my friends on the other side of the political aisle, all I can say is, swallow your pride and get on board and let’s work to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN together!

Make no mistake about it: the Trump Train is leaving the station, and you have two choices: get on it, or find yourselves under it. Rest assure, the Shank household will be having our own little inauguration party with champagne and all kinds of finger foods. This day has been coming for so long, can’t wait to see what the new Prez has in store.

Congratulations, President Trump!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 03:53 | Comments (0)
January 19, 2017

…and don’t let the door hit you from behind. Oh, and don’t forget to take that taxpayer hog of a wife with you. This dispatch from Quin Hillyer at Spectator.org captures the essence of the Barack Obama presidency – the true essence of it, not the one his fawning media and the Democrats would have you believe. I don’t normally post anything in its entirety, but this is so good, and his observations so concise and spot-on I can’t resist.

When Barack Obama leaves the White House tomorrow, he leaves with his worst dreams unrealized. Still, what he leaves behind is awful. Thank goodness he’ll be gone.

The very day after Obama was elected in 2008, I predicted in this space that his team would steal the Senate by hook and crook (see: Al Franken); nuke the filibuster at least for judicial nominees; liberalize voting laws (or enforcement thereof) to make fraud easier while charging opponents with “vote suppression”; drum up spurious allegations of civil rights violations; punish anti-abortion protesters; enact “copious new regulations, especially environmental, to be used selectively to ensnare other conservative malcontents”; invasively use the IRS to harass conservative organizations; and tacitly encourage civil unrest in furtherance of Obamaite goals.

All those predictions of course came true.

Obama and company also waged bureaucratic war against independent inspectors general; tried their hardest (even illegally) to hobble fossil fuels industries; evaded Congress’s intent by sending cash and uranium to a near-nuclear-ready Iran; fumbled and stumbled while veterans suffered virtually criminal neglect; wasted hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on projects that were not “shovel-ready” and did not create many jobs; oversaw an economy in which the workforce participation rate dropped to historically low levels while real median household income also fell and personal debt rose, and in which food stamp rolls grew to a number larger than the population of Spain; horrendously politicized the Justice Department; and saw race relations worsen for the first time in decades.

In what should have been treated by the media as major scandals (or more major than the media represented them), the Obama administration encouraged illegal gun-running to Mexican cartels, with untold numbers of resultant deaths; failed to provide adequate security before or rescue during the Benghazi tragedy; provided tax subsidies in return for campaign cash from useless “green energy” companies; spied on journalists; freed five killers in return for a deserter; failed to police or protect email use at the State Department; polluted a river through the ineptitude of the Gold King Mine Disaster; illegally (arguably) granted, to political allies only, numerous “waivers” from Obamacare; and of course committed the actions I related in the first paragraph of this piece, including the dismissal of the New Black Panther case and the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

And in almost every case, they covered up and/or lied about these actions, often egregiously and sometimes, quite arguably, criminally.

And those are only the major scandals and embarrassments: The total list of bad faith, bad (lack of) integrity, bad policies, bad law, and bad results is almost too long to compile. (Its legal arguments were so laughable that it lost far more cases before a unanimous Supreme Court, including its own appointees, than any other president.)

All of those outrages above, though, will in the long run be little remembered in comparison with the three major self-inflicted disasters of the Obama presidency: The near-doubling of the national debt, the near-ruin of our health-insurance system, and the extreme diminution of American prestige and power worldwide combined with the rise of the Islamic State (henceforth ISIS).

The debt hike from $10.7 trillion to $19.9 trillion is not just some accounting concern. It is unsustainable — and that’s even without taking into account the unfunded liabilities, ten times higher, resulting from future Social Security, Medicare, and other obligations. Combined with all sorts of other worrisome economic realities and trends, it could both help bring on an economic collapse and make it much harder to recover from one. (Conservatives who just a few years ago were debt-obsessed have grown strangely silent on this issue recently. Their obsession was justified; their silence is not.)

As for Obamacare, its abject failure is obvious. It often didn’t let us keep our doctors or insurance plans, and even forced us to abandon them. It drove premiums up by astonishing, even frightening, percentages. It forced doctors to spend more time looking at machines than at their patients. It catalyzed a trend towards care that is less personal, more mechanized — and often less creative or aggressive, as doctors (for multiple reasons) fear innovation and are more loath to try alternative treatments for hard cases that don’t respond to the bureaucratically “approved” regimen.

Obamacare is also frustrating lots of doctors into early retirements, cutting the supply of health care even as it boosts demand.

Finally, and most dangerously, Obama on the world stage has so enthusiastically pursued his blame-America-first, “America must atone and withdraw” policies that this nation stands at its weakest point since at least the Carter Administration, and arguably since the mid-1930s. Our military has been badly hollowed and hobbled — with smaller force levels, fewer ships, and more restrictive rules of engagement than ever before, not to mention the imposition onto it of a social agenda that almost assuredly harms its effectiveness.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has annexed part of Ukraine, threatened other parts, saber-rattled against the Baltics, and tacitly countenanced (at least) the murder of numerous enemies, all without effective response from Obama. North Korea is no more contained than ever, and almost certainly much closer to a deliverable nuke. Iran grows as a hegemon, as a threat to more moderate Arabic or Islamic regimes, and as a threat to use nuclear weapons. Iraq, stable when Obama took office, almost completely collapsed due to Obama’s too-precipitous withdrawal. Turkey has continued its 15-year march towards Islamism and away from the West. Western Europe is politically splintering as it is overrun by refugees. Eastern Europe, which was so strongly inclined to admire the United States, found itself increasingly snubbed and abandoned.

Among Communist (or proto-Communist) regimes, China threatens aggression in the western Pacific, Venezuela is in horrid turmoil, and Cuba continues to commit atrocities against human rights.

And, of course, Obama has badly, egregiously mistreated our great ally Israel.

As for ISIS, it is unclear whether the Obamites actually encouraged its early growth (by mistake), or merely were surprised by its virulence and dangerous effectiveness — which is bad enough, and undeniable. Either way, ISIS grew and committed almost unimaginable atrocities on Obama’s watch.

While we should never blame anybody for terrorist atrocities but the terrorists themselves, and while no sensible person would ever accuse Obama of secretly intending ISIS to thrive as it has, it is fair to observe that his policies against it — just like Clinton’s and the early Bush-43’s policies against Al Qaida — failed to adequately stem its rise.

The world is a much more parlous place because of Obama’s legacy. He entered office on an Alinskyite power trip, wanting to completely transform America. He failed at that, thank goodness, but he did succeed in weakening this great nation.

If Barack Obama knew how to slink, he would slink out of the Oval Office and completely offstage, bowed and beaten by his record of scandal and failure, as much or even more of a pariah among an American majority than Jimmy Carter was in the early 1980s.

Instead, he’ll try to stick around as a constant presence, lecturing us and hectoring us and insisting that we don’t live up to his exacting standards.

The best thing we can do is ignore him — and go about our business of rebuilding, purposely oblivious to his irrelevant fulminations.

If the above seems harsh in comparison to the picture painted by the mainstream media over the past eight years, it is because it will not just be Barack Obama’s presidency that will be judged as a disaster by historians, it will be the utter and complete disintegration of the mainstream media’s reputation as objective journalists during the past eight years. And, like the impact of the Obama presidency, the loss of an objective media estate as a check against government excess, scandal, and corruption will impact this country in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

Barack Obama’s presidency was a disaster for the American republic. The fact that he is taking with him a media that was only too willing to abdicate its traditional role as reporters of news to instead serve as Obama cheerleaders and little more than operatives for the Democratic Party and its machine politics (including Hillary Clinton’s failed candidacy) is even worse. They may think they can reassume their earlier role with a Trump presidency, but once your reputation is gone, it is truly gone. They had their chance, but, like Barack Obama, blew it for all eternity. Now, they’ll just look like a bunch of political tools and hypocrites.

Obama came to office promising to be a uniter. He had the chance to be, perhaps, one of the greatest presidents this country ever had. Instead, he chose a radical political agenda and petty politics over serving as president of all the people, leaving the country more fractured than at any time since the end of the Civil War. Some, like me, believe this was all done by design. Others believe it’s just the way things happened to go as Obama began to truly believe everything the fawning media wrote about him, the end result of the kid gloves with which he and his wife were treated throughout his presidency. Either way, the proof is in how this country in general, and the Democratic Party in particular, has been left with his departure. The country is at ideological war with itself, and the Democrats are left with leaders and elected officials who are nothing more than a mob of raving and drooling, identity-politics moonbats. Like what you see, Democrats?

In the end, Barack Obama’s only true and lasting legacy will be the election of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States. And if only for that, I and millions of other Americans, will be forever grateful.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 14:40 | Comments (0)

So I’m jetting back to Phoenix after a week in Massachusetts which, looking back from my 39K-foot vantage point, turned out to be a very nice and much-needed diversion from all the stuff that I left a week ago – stuff that, I’m certain, sits in the very same place I left it on my dining room table, waiting to be worked on upon my return.

I guess it’s always a good thing to experience once again just how much doing simple things with friends and family who live some 2K miles away from Ground Zero can help recharge the batteries both mentally and physically. My Goodboys friends Ben, Killer, and Doggy Duval have their own lives and perspectives, and therefore their own way of looking me straight in the eye and say, to effect, cut the bullshit and stop taking everything so seriously, and, in effect, to get a life. My friend Paul hasn’t changed in the thirty years we’ve known each other; his Waltham, Massachusetts world-view allows me the space to blow off steam over Italian food and a glass or two of Chianti. He’s always been great in that way. And then there’s my Dad, who has had to work through all the stuff anyone who has lost his mate of 60+ years would have to. Just being around him and talking about life, family, and politics, and where the next steps in his life might take him, is a calming influence.

It all makes me realize one can get so absorbed in all the daily life going on in and around you that you forget that there are others who love you and care about you and are just a call or a text away. I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have friends and family like that! And it’s not a one-way street by any means: if any of them needed me for any reason I’d be there for them, and as Donald Trump would say, “bigly”.

Of course, it doesn’t change the fact that I feel within a great restlessness and desire to grow spiritually in directions I haven’t considered before. It doesn’t change the fact that, even with all the best friends and family around you, someone can still feel not of the world they are living out their existence in. It’s the great Peggy Lee question we all find ourselves asking at one point or another: is that all there is.

All that being said, it’s still reassuring to know that there are those I love and cherish who are there for a reality check whenever it is needed. Look, this is nothing unusual for someone of my age: I’ve done a lot of things in my life most folks on this earth could only dream of doing; but there comes a point where you just have to look at who you are and what you are, and what do you really want to get out of life at this stage.

When I find that out I’ll let y’all know.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:34 | Comments (0)
January 18, 2017

A few thoughts while I head back to Arizona and count the hours and minutes down until the juveniles are escorted out of the White House and the adults take over:

Does anyone really care about Democrats who refuse to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration? I can tell you I certainly don’t care – it only makes them look small and petty. Most Americans, I think, would share that opinion. It’s clear the Democrats in Washington still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Trump defeated Clinton, and all they’re doing is paving the way towards their continued decline in numbers and influence come the 2018 mid-terms.

The big question is whether Hillary Clinton is to be amongst those pardoned. I’m predicting a big, fat “YES!”.

Funny how these things happen. Take way the dough, take away the show. Just more evidence that the much vaunted, holier-than-thou Clinton Global Initiative was just a grift designed to line the Clintons’ pockets with blackmail cash.

…I wonder how Diane Reynolds feels?

I watched the confirmation hearing of Trump’s selection for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last night and was aghast at the pettiness, rudeness, and utterly juvenile behavior of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. She’s a disgrace to the institution Massachusetts voters voted her into, and I can’t imagine being a Massachusetts resident and seeing her as one of my senators. She is, simply, a bitch.

…and to say Minnesota senator Al Franken is ill-informed, crude and an equally embarrassing to the Senate as an institution is an understatement.

This story tells you everything that is, and was ever, wrong about the Obama administration from Day 1. Silly me, I thought the whole goal of the CIA was to protect Americans from threats both internal and external. The Obama administration was never about making the government and all its related agencies and departments work the way they were intended to, but to employ all facets of government, at every possible level, to push a radical progressive agenda down the throats of as many Americans as possible.

Of course Barack Obama isn’t going away anytime soon. He and his mooching wife had zero class when they occupied the White House, why should anyone expect anything different once they’re gone?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 10:25 | Comments (0)
January 16, 2017

We’re in the last days of the Barack Obama presidency, and the Democrats have turned into a virtual laughing-stock in their attempts to de-legitimize Donald Trump’s presidency before it even starts. They’ve tried placing the blame on Hillary Clinton’s loss in November on the media, WikiLeaks, the Russians – everyone and everything except where it belongs: on the candidate herself and President Barack Obama, whose policies and legacy she was being pushed to support from the Democratic Party’s far left.

As the days of Barack’s presidency dwindle down to a precious few, there continues to be a lot of whining and hand-wringing over how a seasoned “can’t-miss” candidate like Hillary Clinton failed so miserably to beat the likes of Donald J. Trump. As much as I was a Trump guy, I recently watched several of the Republican primary debates and still have a hard time believing the guy got away with some of the crap he got away with. But he did, and he did by partly by playing the role of a “larger than life” candidate, partly because none of the other candidates had the stones to stand up to the Trump bully. A lot of Democrats and liberals still have a hard time with this, and to be brutally honest, I can’t blame them.

But, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and I’ve said in this forum ever since she first ran as presumptive nominee in 2008 against a (then) upstart Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton was, is, and will now forever be, near the top of everyone’s list as the worst candidate to ever run for President. And it’s not because she was unqualified (although, I would argue how being a former First Lady, a do-nothing senator from New York, and an abysmal Secretary of State serve as qualifications), it’s because the only reason she was put into those positions in 2008 and 2012 was because her last name was Clinton. As a candidate she was cold, wooden, distant, shrill, churlish, unattractive (did anyone ever wear uglier clothes?), and prefabricated; as a person I would add to that lazy, privileged, and possessing of incredibly poor judgment.

As much as I would like to crow about Donald Trump winning the election, the overwhelming evidence is not so much that Trump won as much as Hillary lost. While it is clear that Trump deserved the win that he got – after all, more than anything else, he absolutely out-worked Hillary – it was still her election to lose, and lose it she did. Forget about the three million votes that I believe will ultimately be uncovered as fraudulent; even without those votes (they coming primarily from the “blue” states of California, Nevada, and New Mexico) she came within a whisker’s breath of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – states that should have been no-brainers within the Clinton camp.

So why weren’t they? I’m not much of a Huffington Post reader, but in this case this article is a must-read for all you Democrats and liberals pounding the pavement to protest Trump as if he took something away from you. In the end, Clinton supporters out there have only Hillary to blame:

Bill Clinton once said “I feel your pain,” a turning point in the 1992 election. Hillary’s team asked focus groups to describe working-class pain. Then they chose the language that offered the highest probability of an applause. Then they hired a team of PR consultants operating from an Alexandria-based office overlooking the Potomac. Or were they in Georgetown? None of them actually knew what it felt like to lose a job and a house in a period of two weeks. Trump, meanwhile, dug a finger into voters’ wounds and screamed, “Do you feel that? You know who did this to you!”

…Clinton embodied everything that Americans have grown tired of. She profited immensely from her public resume, earning more in 30 minutes giving a speech to a bank than many Rust Belt voters earn in six years. One must lack a moral code to deny the crony nature of the Clinton Foundation. One must suspend all belief in common sense to think that a private server was initiated for matters of convenience when an uncovered e-mail from 2009 said that “HRC does not know how to use a computer to do e-mail, only bb [Blackberry].”

Read the whole thing (and, if you’re a Democrat, weep). Everything I’ve always said about Hillary Clinton manifested themselves in the 2016 election. The sense of entitlement, aloofness, and condescending attitude towards not just Trump supporters, but her own Party and supporters (who she thought were dumb enough to consume the focus-group slop her handlers ensured her would work) – all those chickens came home to roost. She was an empty shell either so detached from reality that she thought the election was in the bag and that she didn’t have to work for it or ill-informed and ill-advised by the people she surrounded herself with that the sense of entitlement she felt created a bubble she could never escape from. Was it the Russians who advised Hillary to ignore the pleas of her campaign in Wisconsin and not visit there for a single rally? Was it the Russians who told her to call half the electorate “deplorables”, or take days off from the campaign trail while Trump was holding as much as three rallies a day?

My view is that Hillary was simply out-worked and out-hustled by Donald Trump because, when it came to the American presidency, he just wanted it more. And people fed off that passion and energy. Had Hillary been a more attractive candidate (in every manner of speaking), she might have gotten away with it. But she wasn’t, and the Democratic establishment that allowed themselves to be hood-winked by the promise of a Hillary Clinton candidacy – not once, but twice – have only themselves to blame. Except they can’t. After all, it’s far easier to blame the Russians.

Look at it this way: while I’ve never been much of an Obama fan, can you imagine the soon-to-be former president making a video like this? It really encapsulates who Hillary Clinton was and why her candidacy was rejected by so many voters. But that’s OK as far as I’m concerned: let the Democrats continue to think it was the Russians who voted Trump in, and let them continue to de-legitimize his presidency. If they think 2016 was bad, wait till they see what the 2018 mid-terms bring.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 14:18 | Comments (0)
January 11, 2017

It’s an early Wednesday morning and we’re somewhere over Colorado as I head back to Massachusetts for a seven-day break from all the crazy activity going on back in Arizona. I’ve got a new laptop from work – a ThinkPad Ultrabook that has turned my flying experience into mayhem as I’ve traded my old, trusty, comfortable and reliable laptop travel case into this tinier version with pockets I haven’t quite figured out yet. It does seem to have a much improved battery that might actually last nearly the entire flight from Phoenix to Boston. I’ve got George Harrison playing in the ear buds, and it’s pretty cool to hear the separation of familiar songs going on between the ears. Next I’ll try some Pink Floyd and really give my ears something to think about!

Even though I’m heading back to Massachusetts there is so much going on back home that it will be pretty hard to consider it a true break: we’re so knee-deep in turning our financial ship around from where we have been for so long to the point of being ostrich-like to where our new Edelman Financial Services advisor says we need to be in preparation for our inevitable (hopefully) retirements that it’s hard to distinguish between all the outstanding items left on out living trust, insurance, house re-finance, and 401K / 403(B) conversions to IRAs to-do list. Our dining room table has become a virtual smorgasbord of file folders, pamphlets, authorization forms, and notes that needs to be sorted out and acted upon at my return.

…and that doesn’t include all the paperwork involved with my sister-in-law Tammy’s divorce: we’re really close to getting it done but because it’s all legal stuff involving the courts and an out-of-state no-fault divorce everything has to be done to the letter proper and on time. The last hurdle comes on January 20 when four different forms need to be notarized and oh-so-carefully assembled in the proper format so that the Arizona Superior Court clerk doesn’t throw them back in our faces instead of stamping them and filing them away for the judge’s final decision.

…and that doesn’t include this damned project at work that has been going on for the past eight months that was supposed to have been completed this month but now looks like it will be more like early February. My company is relying on our team to deliver an interim custom solution to several anxious clients while our development organization comes up with a permanent solution, and each of those clients wants something slightly different from the other. Both yours truly and my valiant team of Indian developers have been pushed in every direction one can imagine to ensure it all happens somewhat on time – something which, given our different time zones, means lots of late-night calls and early morning calls on my part to keep things moving forward and on track.

To say that I’m bushed and frazzled doesn’t do those terms justice. There’s too much on my mind to be getting solid hours of sleep, so luxuriating bubbly soaks in a hot bath tub with a good book and late nights on a dark patio with a Pinot Grigio are about the only chance for relief I get. George Harrison’s music has been a regular accompaniment during this time, and I’ve also been reading two books on his life and music: Simon Leng’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Graeme Thomson’s George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door. Harrison was a very complex individual, the better part of his life spent attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable: the spiritual search for self-realization in the Divine amidst a life lived with the equally-strong pull of the physical and material world.

I’ve come to feel a strong kinship with Harrison: like he, I have long felt myself a stranger walking in a world in which I really don’t feel as if I belong and, frankly, don’t wish to belong. There’s a Tibetan monk sitting in the row in front of me, and how I long to divorce myself from this world and immerse myself in his. At one time I thought God was calling me to be a priest. I have long thought I was called to be divorced from the world and to be a monastic. I’m starting to realize that maybe all this time all God has only been calling me to be me. Which is fine, except that after all these years I don’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to be. I guess that’s where self-realization comes in. Some folks would call it a mid-life crisis and buy themselves a convertible Mustang or ditch their wife for a younger trophy, but that’s just living in denial and external stuff. Self-realization is much more personal and personally taxing.

I’ll admit: I’m feeling kind of lost and running on fumes. At one time I saw golf as a way to escape, to get away from everything and a way to hit the reset button, but I’m just not feeling it anymore – it seems like too much work. Maybe in another month or so when hopefully things settle down on all the fronts I’ll find the mood. But for right now I’m just someone impersonating a train moving from one station to another, checking items off a never-ending to-do list. Getting away from it all for a week will hopefully provide a needed break in the at least the non-work stuff (it’s not really a vacation), and it will be good to how my dad is doing and see a few friends before hopping back into the financial frenzy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments (0)
January 8, 2017

After a heavy post it’s time to lighten things up a little ahead of my trip back to Massachusetts this coming week…

Is there anything cheese doesn’t do well?

Oh Chuckie, you think it’s bad now, Donald Trump is just getting started with you.

I watch this video of Michelle Obama’s “farewell address” and can’t help but thing what an utter and total fraud she is. But what really makes the video for me is watching the faces of the women standing behind her. Priceless! Hey, I too almost teared up but for some reason the tears wouldn’t come.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Trump’s election was just the first blow against Hollywood, the media, and political correctness. There is a great reckoning coming, and payback is going to be a bitch. I, for one, can’t wait.

Frankly, if I’m Julian Assange I’d still sue CNN’s asses off. The days of character assassination followed up by a formal apology – as if that makes the original accusation go away – should be over. The best defense is an overwhelming offense. Do it enough times and succeed, and folks will get the message.

See above. I’m no fan of lawyers by any means, but sometimes the only way to make people understand is to hit them hard where they care most, and that most often is in the wallet.

I guess you can call this news you can use. But the picture associated with it grosses me out.

I think this is a lousy idea. Do you mean to tell me the majors would be over by the third weekend in July? Of course, if it means that the Tour could move up the Fed Ex Cup playoffs to start in August and finish up in mid-September I’d be good with that. Anything to create some separation between the end of one year and the start of another.

…of course, if you move the PGA Championship to May, doesn’t that threaten to take the attention of the PGA Tour’s darling event, THE PLAYERS?

This is an old story, but I like it nonetheless.

Doesn’t break my heart to see Megyn Kelly leaving the FOX News nightly line-up. Truth be told, I really liked her when she first started – she had a nice mix of seriousness and silliness and self-deprecating humor that was unique and refreshing. But I think her success got to her head, to the point where Trump really got in her head. And she changed the way she looked, which wasn’t for the better.

Talk to y’all again from the Eastern Time Zone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:38 | Comments (0)
January 7, 2017

Excerpt from the Raja Yoga.

And thus [nature] is working, without beginning and without end. And thus through pleasure and pain, through good and evil, the infinite river of souls is flowing into the ocean of perfection, of self-realisation.

This from George Harrison:

Remember, now, be here now
As it’s not like it was before.
The past, was, be here now
As it’s not what it was before – it was

Why try to live a life,
That isn’t real,
No how
A mind, that wants to wander,
’round a corner,
Is an un-wise mind

Now, is, be here now
And it’s not what it was before,
Remember, now, be here now
As it’s not like it was before – it was

Look, it’s really very simple. The past is an illusion: what we know of it is solely based on our own flawed perception of it, that’s all. The future also is an illusion, based only what each of us anticipates it might be. We could drop dead tomorrow, and what then would be the point of all the planning and expectation?

All there is, is now – God’s creation, and each of us in God’s creation. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to equate the teachings of organized Christianity with the reality that I have lived amongst fools who use it for their own sense of self-worth, power, moral judgement, and superiority. And, to a great extent, my own sense of self worth and importance. Which, by the way, is zero. There’s nothing wrong with the Christian Church and its Judeo-Christian heritage at its core; the sad truth is that it has become corrupt beyond any form of measure. When it starts to practice what it preaches, keep me posted.

I won’t say my six decades immersed in it has been wasted – nothing could be further from the truth. And I can’t say I don’t believe in much of its teachings. But what I will say is that I’ve come to believe that the Church in its everyday practice is no longer relative, and certainly no longer relative to my own place and time in the universe. It’s up to each of us to make our own destiny; we make our own heaven and hell right here on earth, and that should be sufficient for one lifetime. God is most certainly big enough and merciful enough to sort it all out in the end as it relates to our souls in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve spent so much of my life living an illusion of what I am and what and who I should be. I am nothing. And I’ve wasted so much of my life trying to live up to others’ expectations, giving so much of myself to others, yet getting nothing in return. I see so many of my relationships as completely one-sided: if I never reached out to them would I ever hear from them? I think not. And maybe that’s my own fault in my own setting of expectations. But what it does do is help me to recognize that in the end I am responsible for my own happiness, and that I have spent far too much time living with the illusion that it matters and that everything I’ve been involved with is somehow important in the grand scheme of things, which it is not.

And while I can still cherish relationships, it’s time for a reassessment of everything they are and everything I am. In the end, when the cards are all laid on the table, I am alone with the reality of a life lived as a stranger in a strange land, striving to be someone I could never be; someone I wouldn’t even recognize. There’s nothing wrong with asking yourself who the heck you are. There’s everything wrong in looking into the mirror and not knowing who it really is that is staring back at you.

Perhaps the time has come to let go of all of it. I’m given up trying to be someone I’m not and trying to live up to expectations I can’t control. What I can control – and this is so in only the smallest way – is how I seek to be whomever it is I am supposed to be, and to seek God and wisdom and happiness in whatever those forms take. And also recognizing that the search for the above is all relative to what it is you are seeking to begin with.

I’m no longer attending church and have no real plans of ever going back. Tracey and I have our places in the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Memorial Garden, where our ashes will be placed next to my mom and dad’s (whenever that time comes). Oh, we’ll continue to support St. Anne’s monetarily in the small way we’ve committed ourselves to, but that’s as far as I see myself willing to go from here. In the end I really don’t think God cares one way or the other. I think we are called to live for love and seek love in any and all of its forms, and let God be the judge in the end. I can only be myself.

The water for irrigation of fields is already in the canal, only shut in by gates. The farmer opens these gates, and the water flows in by itself, by the law of gravitation. So all progress and power are already in every man; perfection is man’s nature, only it is barred in and prevented from taking its proper course. If anyone can take the bar off, in rushes nature. Then the man attains the powers which are his already. Those we call wicked become saints, as soon as the bar is broken and nature rushes in. It is nature that is driving us towards perfection, and eventually she will bring everyone there. All these practices and struggles to become religious are only negative work, to take off the bars, and open the doors to that perfection which is our birthright, our nature.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:34 | Comments (0)

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