June 30, 2007

It’s been a hard road to now trying to get my Internet access / DSL problem resolved here this week. I’ve gone through Cox technical support online, by phone, in person, and even had a technical representative stop by today, and I still can’t get a consistent Internet signal off either my main PC or wireless laptop. Now word is that it’s the heat to blame – that’s right, the heat. Evidently, the heat has an impact on these little yellow cones you see dotting our nighborhood – the Cox DSL and cable TV trees. Don’t ask me – I haven’t a clue as to how all this stuff works, they just tell me the heat mucks around with their signal or something like that. So now in the next two days they’re supposed to be bringing in the cavalry – the Cox “road crew” to see if they can resolve the problem.

I sure hope so – this dial-up connection is feeling quite snail-like this evening.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:44 | Comments Off on Technology Blues
June 29, 2007

Seems my post of a couple of days ago touched a raw nerve with a number of readers who have e-mailed me with some not-so-very-nice comments that, for the sake of civility and good taste, I will not post as comments here at Goodboys Nation weblog. That’s OK, I don’t mind – I’ve always been a believer that to be controversial is far better than to be boring. Besides, where else can you get a rail against athiests and agnostics one day, and a cowboy song the next? Eclecticism in a world of dogmatism is not the worst place to be.

But it seems I’m not the only one this has experienced the wrath of self-righteous athiests and agnostics trying to one-up this accused and so-called “holy roller”. Author Doug Giles, in a Townhall.com column of a few weeks back, also writes of a similar kind of experience he had following an earlier column he had written on a similar subject. His response to his critics: go find your own moral code! He writes:

I received a lot emails from snippy atheists after my column, “Atheists had Better Pray to God They’re Right” ran the week of May 13, 2007. I had many God-deniers tell me, quite self-righteously I might add, that they lived by a high moral code without the aid of any “opiate” or “crutch” like Jesus or Moses, and they didn’t need some archaic holy book giving them the skinny on how they should live.

…The problem I have, however, with the atheists and their goodness and their morality claims is that all your ethical codes of conduct sound strangely similar to the principles inherent to the Judeo-Christian traditions. As a matter of fact, it seems as if you have bellied up to the Bible and are treating it like a buffet . . . passing up on the worship of the person and work of God, while taking second helpings of His moral principles, you duplicitous, little, evolved monkey, you.

…If I were an atheist and I believed that God didn’t exist, that the Bible was a bunch of weird bunk written by religiously deluded men several thousand years ago, that Jesus was an apocalyptic, sandal-wearing, hippie forerunner of David Koresh who went around spitting out cheeky clichés who needed not to be heeded, but straight-jacketed or at least ignored—I sure as heck wouldn’t be borrowing any tidbits of His wisdom to navigate my life’s glide path.

I’m sure there’s more than a little tongue-in-cheek at work here, but his column contains more than a strain of truth in it. Have a read and enjoy!

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments (2)
June 28, 2007

“I sit on my porch the sun shining bright,
the temperature’s almost 90 tonight
I’ll never vote for that Clinton Hillary
The saguaro, the gekko and me.

Yippee yoo ya ah hoo looey loo
Yippee yoo ya ah hoo looey looey

I don’t have a horse, the association would freak
That big bird above me has a pretty big beak
The patio needs a good sweep, I see
The saguaro, the gekko and me.

(middle eight)

The gekkos climb up and over my walls
The foo-foo birds with their dumb wacky calls,
How can those saguaros stand this damned heat?
I wish I was was back in MA with my friend Pete!

Yoo-lee yoo-lee yodelololdelayee hoo….

I wish I was out and alone on some trail
Away from Paris Hilton cooped up in that jail
Out there there’s no hassles, I’d find myself free
The saguaros, the gekkos, and me.

Yippee yoo ya ah hoo looey loo
Yippee yoo ya ah hoo looey looey

The heat makes me stupid, the A/C is strained
For these AZ summers I never was trained.
The sunset is melting into orange and red
I’m glad there’s a fan hanging over my bed;
The cowboy in me longs for ol’ Tennessee…
Away from the saguaro, the gekko, and me.”

Git along little doggee…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments (3)
June 27, 2007

…Well after several calls to Cox technical support (1 human, 1 unhuman, and 1 inhuman) it would appear that I need to get me a new cable modem. Fortunately it will still be under warranty, but I’m gonna have to find me a Cox store I can bring it to, and until then, going back to dial-up after months of high-speed internet access is a pain in the neck.

…Of course, everything’s relative, and these technology glitches are little more than an inconvenience and a pittance in the grand scheme of things. Today, Tracey and I both had doctor’s appointments and there’s nothing like a trip to your local hospital or medical center to find all your problems and concerns put into tidy little perspective.

…I’ve gotten a number of e-mails about yesterday’s post that speak rather unkindly of me and accuse me of tossing those anonymous friends and coi-workers I mentioned yesterday under the bus, so to speak. Some even said that with friends like me who needs enemies! To those e-mails who asked me not to post their comments, all I’ll say is this: I’ll put my ability to be a loyal, empathetic, and trustworthy friend and workmate above anyone out there. I’m not tossing anyone under a bus; I’m simply saying that certain topics that were once wide open for debate and discussion now won’t be. No big deal – my friends and co-workers and I have plenty of other areas we can discuss under the full bloom of friendship and comradeship with nary a concern for controversy.

…Like for example how the GOP is like an elephant ready to jump off into the Grand Canyon by caving in on this immigration debate. How a party can be so dumb and blind to what a vast majority of its supportive base is united behind is beyond me. But make no mistake about it – conservatives are united against this bill and against those Republican senators who have turned a deaf ear to their complaints like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and if this bill passes, they’ll be incumbent blood all over the voting booths comes 2008.

…If I’m the Boston Celtics, I’m trading that #5 pick tomorrow to try and pick up some veteran talent that Paul Pierce can work with. Either way, the Celts ain’t going to the NBA Finals anytime soon, but as a basketball team, they need to become relevent again and attractive to watch on national TV again. Hopefully the Shamrock’s ownership brass understand this.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:15 | Comments Off on Dot Dot Dot
June 26, 2007

During my trip to Massachusetts I found myself having to endure once again the ridicule and brickbats of so-called ‘well-meaning’ (at least I hope so) friends and co-workers who have felt the need to engage me in debating the fundamental beliefs of my Christian faith. Whether it has been directing me to certain Internet websites (how’s that for an authoritative source!), or discussing the relative merits of Dan Brown’s foolish piece of crap, The Da Vinci Code, or putting forth once more the tired (and, in my view) intellectually bankrupt argument that if science can’t prove Jesus existed, then He obviously couldn’t have, it’s just one of those things Christians often find themselves having to face in an increasingly secular and anti-Christian society. Along these very lines, a few thoughts come to mind:

1) I often wonder why so-called ‘non-believers’, be they athiests or agnostics, feel such a need to debate, ridicule, and/or criticize someone’s faith when that person’s belief does them or serves them no harm. I’ve never felt the need to criticize, debate, or condemn anyone who isn’t a believer; I wonder why they feel it necessary to do so with me? Perhaps I’m just approachable. Or unafraid to wear my faith on my sleeve.

Want to know what I think? I think deep down many who are so quick to ridicule, or feel the need to debate, Christianity are deep-down afraid – afraid that there might very well be such a figure as Jesus Christ, and Heaven and Hell, and Judgment, and a moral code of ethics that comes with the teachings of organized religion, and that the very prospect of such is so threatening to non-believers that they feel the need to somehow reassure themselves of the ‘rightness’ of their beliefs by seeking to debate the issue time and again with believers.

2) To use science as a basis for discounting anything and everything associated with Christianity is, on its face, both asinine and ignorant. Science only knows what science knows at any given point in history. During Columbus’ day, science taught that the world was flat. Until amazing discoveries in the field of biology and medicine, science’s conventional wisdom treated people with bleedings and leeches and amputations, because it didn’t know better. To say that if you can’t see it, you can’t prove it existed (as in, for example, Jesus’ existence and resurrection) is, in effect, to say that anything that never left any kind of a trace that can be quantified in some way could never have existed.

Such a stance is both laughable and absurd. How can you quantify or measure love? Or passion? Or empathy? Or hatred? You can measure symptoms or the by-products of those things, but they in and of themselves cannot be measured. The same holds true for those civilizations and people and kings and cultures that we know very little about; nevertheless their very existence is understood to have taken place, even by science. Both Jewish and Roman historians provide evidence of Jesus’ existence and the existence of the movement he founded; again, one wonders if the prospect of such a figure having existed might be frightening and intimdating to those who were not raised in the Christian tradition or did and have rejected it.

3) The whole argument that Christianity is some by-product of the figment of someone’s vivid imagination is, on it’s face, an indication of the ignorance people have when it comes to human history, culture, and communication – in Christianity’s case, in the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Those who try to imprint their understanding of Christianity from a 20th century perspective is like me trying to tell a nuclear physicist that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The fact is, unless you have a real understanding of the way the ancient Greeks and Romans communicated and passed history down from one generation to another, you’re speaking nonsense. If you hate Christians and Christianity for some basic and fundamental reason, that’s fine – but if you’re going to discount it from a real and historical perspective, at least understand where and how it came about so at least you’re not talking out of your ass.

4) In the end, one’s religion comes down to faith. You can’t rationalize or quantify it, but you can live it before God and in the presence of others. I have confidence in my faith. I believe I have been touched by the hand of God several times in my life, and I have also seen face to face the presence of Satan and all his lies, distortions, and temptations. Does it make me perfect? Of course not. Does it make me qualified to judge others? Absolutely not. But I do know from my experiences and the teachings of my faith that those who knowingly and willingly work against the Cross of Jesus Christ in their lives and in the lives of others live with their souls at risk and in a very present and real danger from the Evil One.

5) People love to criticize the Church, as if somehow just because people are Christians they’re supposed to somehow be immune to the trials and temptations of life. The Church has made a lot of mistakes over the millennia, and I’m not going to defend it in the many areas in which it has gone astray. All I wll say is that the Church has done a lot of good in the world, and that, when all is said and done, the world has been better off for it. Another thought: if the Church’s teachings are so abhorrent and their faithful so misguided, why do athiests and agnostics feel the need to compare the way they go about and live their lives against the teachings of the Church? To you athiests and agnostics out there, I say, go find yourselves your own moral code to live your lives by (more on that another time).

So here’s where I stand on all this – bottom line: I’m done debating my faith with friends and co-workers. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, pure and simple, unabashed and unashamed. You feel the need to argue Christianity with someone? Go find another patsy. But do yourself a favor – before you do, try attending church on a regular basis or do some reading – serious reading – on the Church and its history and beliefs ahead of time. To do otherwise deflates your whole position and makes you sound foolish, petty, and ignorant. Of couse, if an argument is what you want, an argument is what you’ll get. But it won’t be pretty, and it won’t be fought with one hand tied behind my back anymore. I’ve tried to be nice. I’ve tried to be understanding; but now you’re on your own. Good luck.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (4)

This is gonna be a short post, I think. For some reason, our DSL has been on the fritz big time over the past couple of weeks. For some reason, I’m losing connectivity with my DSL, and whenever that happens, the wireless network that depends on my DSL goes south as well. Hopefully, between a call to Cox and a housecall from my local networking guy, I hope to have the issue resolved in the next few days, but until then, it is post while the gettings good and don’t spend a whole lot of time doing it! Sigh. Technology is supposed to make peoples’ lives easier; it’s during days like this with spaoradic outages throughout the day that I find it often just the opposite.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comments Off on Out of Order
June 25, 2007

Back in Phoenix and, with a little distance between me and New England (and the benefit of a cross-country flight), realized that between the various stresses and strains of the past week and a half, I did get a lot accomplished from a positive point of view:

* Play cards or a board game with my mom and dad – check.
* Drop by to see my Auntie Marge and Uncle Don – check.
* Visit with my good friends Dona and Pete – check.
* Italian food and laughs with my good friend Paul – check.
* Played golf with the Goodboys – check.
* Continued my string of quality rounds of golf after all that hard work in Phoenix – ummm, lemme get back to you on that…

* Spend an afternoon by the ocean, feeling the warmth of the sun and breathing in the fresh salt air while contemplating the twists and turns of life and fate, and the general state of things in my life – check.

* …Beers and laughs with the Goodboys – triple-check.
* Italian food in Boston’s North End – double-check.
* Saw a thunderstorm – double-check.
* Felt rain falling from the sky – check.
* Enjoyed a cool breeze and the sound of wind in the trees – check.
* Lobster bisque at Markey’s in Salisbury – check.
* Fried clams at the same – check.
* Mexican food at Margaritas – double-check.
* Watching the Sox play on NESN in HD – quadruple-check.

* Leave my golf clubs behind me in New England so I don’t have to drag the damned things back and forth to and from Logan and Sky Harbor airport when the freakin’ travel bag already weighs about a thousand pounds and is the bulkiest damned piece of luggage I’ve ever had to take anywhere – check.

June in New England summer is a wonderful experience – a little summer, a little spring, a little bit of everything weather-wise and, from this man’s point of view, the best food overall in the U.S. Great to visit, great to be back, and already looking to a return visit three weeks’ hence for the 2007 Goodboys Invitational.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:39 | Comments (2)
June 24, 2007

…for the next couple of days as I return to Phoenix and try and put things back together after a crazy and hectic week that featured one crisis after another, both at work and at home. Normally, there are enough crises at work to test even the most stout-hearted, but The Big Nipper’s passing, my dad being in the hospital for several days, and a raging case of insomnia have made this week a far cry from the welcome “New England getaway” I was hoping for and looking so forward to.

If y’all could, please keep my dad in your prayers, as I am for the fellow he roomed with who has suffered from long-term alcoholism for years, to the point where 95% of his liver is gone and he worries for two of his sons currently stationed in Iraq. The sad truth is, no matter how bad you think you might have it, there are always people who have it far worse, and it is for them my own prayers are offered up this night.

See y’all back in the Valley of the Sun.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comment (1)
June 23, 2007

Too tired to post anything tonight, so here is all I have to offer: a little snippet of a John Lennon lyric from The Beatles’ White Album:

I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink

I’m so tired I don’t know what to do
I’m so tired my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you’d do

You’d say I’m putting you on
But it’s no joke, it’s doing me harm
You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain
You know it’s three weeks, I’m going insane
You know I’d give you everything I’ve got
for a little peace of mind.

Such is The Great White Shanks’ mindset after a brutal and mentally and physically tiring week.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comments Off on I’m So Tired
June 22, 2007

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, a.k.a. the longest day of the year, and the usual gatherings and partying seems like a nice way to commemorate this day. Up here in the northern climes, I guess it means slowly but surely everything goes downhill now until the Winter Solstice six months’ hence. But since it’s barely summertime as far as, well, summertime goes in these parts, there’s no need to break out the winter parkas any time soon.

Of course, in Phoenix, the day means nothing – it has been hot for two months already and, regardless of today’s white-hot temps, the real hot weather hasn’t even started yet.

It may be a day for enjoying the sun and being outside, but I’m so exhausted after a long and stressful week that all I want to do is sleep. Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:54 | Comments Off on Longest Day of the Year


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