June 29, 2009

Tonight is one of those nights where “blast furnace” seems the appropriate description for what awaits you as you head out the back slider towards the pool. Everything is hot: the air, the wind, the patio. The pool is up to 92, so it’s more wet than it is refreshing. The wind undoubtedly comes from some big thunderstorms that have moved to our south and east. But at least the Pinot Grigio is chilled – at least for now!

First it was Danny Gans, today it was Fred Travelena. Seems like a bad year for impersonators. If I’m Rich Little, I’m making sure my will and insurance is up to date.

Here’s a twist on the non-stop Michael Jackson coverage that definitely makes you think – especially if you’re a football fan.

Wonder why there’s so little coverage about this in the U.S. state-run media? Oh… that’s right, I forgot which political party was in power.

Seems to me the President of the United State should always – whether agreeing with what’s going on in a foreign country or not – always come out on the side of that nation’s rule of law. That is, of course, unless you’re Barack Obama and you love to cozy up to idiot blowhard dictators like Hugo Chavez – so this news shouldn’t come as any surprise.

…If you don’t believe me, this headline should tell you all you need to know.

Whatever Michael Barone writes, I trust. And this is no different – well worth reading.

Just thinking… is the hockey season over?

Michelle Obama “knocks back a couple glasses of champagne” or “downs a couple martinis” over dinner and that’s cause for alarm about a possible drinking problem? Hell, I’ve seen Jana and Tracey knock back a couple of martinis before dinner and I don’t recall any uproar…

All I can say is, be careful, Michelle – that’s how you get rabbits in your house. And once you start it’s hard to stop.

Anyone who thinks The Beatles couldn’t rock hasn’t seen this video. I love it – positively electric. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore…

And while we’re on our video kick, while all the talking-heads on the 24/7 cable channels are slobbering all over Michael Jackson, it might be a good idea to remember who “The King” of popular music actually was. Different times, I guess…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:29 | Comment (1)
June 28, 2009

Phew! Just one more day and this month is over with. It’s been a pretty crazy one all around: one rabbit out, two rabbits in, lots of cash outflow in between in yet-another attempt to get my sister-in-law independent and on her own two feet and some much-delayed and need auto repairs, a gazillion hours worked. I’ve never been so tired in my whole life – yesterday alone I spent 16 hours of a Saturday sleeping.

June was supposed to be the month we made the leap from May’s elimination of our credit card debt to creating a solid foundation of $5K in our savings account before working towards our last non-mortgage debt – the $28,500 outstanding on a 403-B load we took out to buy our house. But not only did that not happen, we actually lost a $1K in the process. Fortunately our credit card debt still remains clean, but it just goes to show you how you can never count your eggs before they’re in the pudding. Hopefully July will bring a little more budgetary stability.

Two weeks before a week’s vacation and lots of golf around the 2009 Goodboys Invitational. I can’t wait.

Today it hit 108 here in Gilbert. And let me tell ya, it felt every degree of it.

R.I.P. Billy Mays. There was always something about his commercials – you’d hear that loud booming voice and you just had to watch. The only thing we ever bought after watching him was Oxi-Clean, and it absolutely sucked. No wonder two years later he was hawking the “new and improved” Oxi-Clean.

R.I.P. Gale Storm. I didn’t even know she was still alive. Talk about a name from my childhood, although I don’t think I ever saw “My Little Margie” or anything she was in, for that matter. Seems they’re droppin’ like flies in Hollywood all of a sudden.

And now we return you back to your local stations and 24/7 Michael Jackson coverage.

Which reminds me: is anyone surprised to see the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton crawling out from under their respective rocks to take as much advantage of the media coverage of Jackson’s death as they can? These two hucksters have absolutely no shame.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:59 | Comment (1)
June 27, 2009

Let’s face it – the last thing I need in my 80-hr. work week existence is loud, aggressive music to fill my downtime. So I’ve been re-tooling my surf MP3 with a nod towards quieter, more mellow surf sounds. Lucky for me that I’ve found some very cool surf bands in that search. Here are a few you might want to check out:

The Torquays’ “Somewhere in California” has a nice variety of surf tunes, with “Shadowcaster” and “Shoreline Serenade” two keepers as far as I’m concerned.

Shigg & Buzz are outta sight. Their tune “Hawaii” is a new highlight of my collection.

Reverb Galaxy’s “Angle of Attack” has some great mellow tunes.

Los SuperAvengers is a Texas surf band who, after listening to their stuff has me thinking they’ve been heavily influenced by another of my favorite surf bands, Los Straightjackets, whose tune “University Blvd” from their CD, “The Utterly Fantastic And Totally Unbelievable Sound Of Los Straightjackets” is a favorite in the TGWS household.

The Low-Fi Drifters are another damned fine surf band. Check out “Love Goddess of Venus” and some of their other tunes from their CD “Instrumental Takeover”.

These are all great. But how about a TGWS “top 5″ of mellow surf tunes that are must have for any surf collection worth it’s salt:

1. The Warmth of the Sun – The Beach Boys
2. Slow Dance With a Fast Girl – The Aqua Velvets, from their “Guitar Noir” CD
3. Theme From “The Endless Summer” – The Sandals
4. Shigg & Buzz – “Hawaii”
5. Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:29 | Comments (3)
June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett, who lost her valiant battle against cancer. May she find the peace in death she had trouble finding in her life.

R.I.P. Michael Jackson – maybe I’m in the minority of people my age on this one, but in these quarters the death of the so-called “King of Pop”, while sad, is not a monumental thing. Actually, I’m surprised he lasted this long. There’s no disputing Jackson was a pop music icon, but how sad to see someone so blessed with talent waste his life in nonsensical over-indulgence and weirdness to an extent that boggles the mind. What a waste of a life!

I’ll admit, I was never a fan of Jackson or his music. Not only was he beyond bizarre, he was likely a child molester as well. All you needed to know about his character was his double-crossing of then-pal Paul McCartney when he outbid Sir Paul for the publishing rights to ATV Music and the Lennon-McCartney music catalog under their control. McCartney never forgave Jackson for that; frankly, neither would I – it was a snakey maneuver to say the least.

…of course, if this is true, one hopes the KOP must have felt some remorse for what he did and was attempting to make amends. But given the fact this was taking place at a time when KOP was in a dire need for cash, well, ’nuff said.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:08 | Comment (1)
June 24, 2009

To fully understand the context of this post you have to understand the layout of the office / bunny room: It’s a 10 X 12 room open to the main hallway; on the left side is this big momma desk (from which I’m typing this post) upon which sits our computer and, next to it, Cosmo’s 4 X 6 cage area.

On the other side of the room, against the outside wall, stands a three-story rabbit condo, the top two floors belonging to Little Half-Pint, the bottom floor open to a 4 X 8 cage area that used to house Marble Jr. and her mom Pepper, but now the home of our two new arrivals, Ginger and Geronimo. We’ve always left the front doors on both of Half-Pint’s floors open – partly because neither Marble Jr. or Pepper were ever big enough rabbits to ever consider hopping up into Half-Pint’s bottom floor, partly because, while Half-Pint loves to stick her head outside to survey the activity going on around her, she’s never shown any interest in jumping out of her safe haven. (I think she’s always known to do so would mean certain death at the hands (or teeth) of Marble Jr., who, while as gentle and loving a bunny as you’re likely to find, wouldn’t have thought twice about tearing the gentle, trusting Little Half-Pint limb from limb if given the chance.)

It’s amazing how your senses get trained to the differences between usual bunny sounds at night (nosing their way through a bundle of hay or flopping onto their side to rest, for instance), and those that either don’t sound right or out of place. It was the latter that awoke me at 4:30 this morning. There was this strange sound, then a bang, then another strange sound. In my half-sleep my first thought was that Cosmo must have leapt the fence of Ginger’s and Geronimo’s cage area to welcome the newcomers in his own unique bunny way – after all, he had made the same 3-ft. leap two years ago shortly after we first brought him home. (Fortunately, at that time we were able to intercede and prevent what surely would have been a rather nasty confrontation between him and Marble Jr., one he had no way of knowing he could never have won, BTW…)

This time, it was when I heard that final bang that I knew something was up and sprang from my bed. Reaching the opening to the room, I put on the hall light, and there before me was the cause of all the commotion: Geronimo, the big white lop-eared rabbit, sitting next to Half-Pint in her second-floor litter box just as calmly as if it was he who lived there. As I entered the room, he gave me a quick look, then, just as effortlessly as he must have leaped in, leaped out and down into his own cage area.

This morning I removed the ramp that Ginger and Geronimo were using to hop into the bottom floor of the rabbit condo – the thinking being, if Geronimo could leap 2.5 feet into Half-Pint’s cage area, he and Ginger could negotiate easily the 8 inches the ramp covered. Plus, I’m thinking that those 8 inches probably made all the difference in the world to Geronimo in his quest for living the high life at Half-Pint’s expense.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward. You know, you always hear talk of home invasions here in the Valley of the Sun, but until this morning I have to admit I’d never heard of a bunny home invasion.

I guess now I’ve seen everything.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:26 | Comments (3)
June 23, 2009

Readers of this spot will know I’m no Arizona fan. But tonight was one of those nights where you just look up at the sky and say, thanks God, for allowing me this moment of radiant tranquil beauty.

The monsoon is creeping in – you can tell because it’s not just blazing hot, there’s a bit of humidity in the air as well. Above, to our west, the sky is a dazzling azure blue with salmon-tinged clouds reflecting the sun’s passing of another day. Above us, to our east, ominous dark clouds with virga creating a big beautiful rainbow that shimmers against the gray. You can tell it’s a good rainbow because the violet at the bottom is as striking as the dusky red on the top.

The pool is 89 degrees, and now that I’ve turned the loudest pool filter in the neighborhood off, there’s only the sound of surf music playing softly in the background and the swishing of the water. Although it’s just me and Tracey in the pool, we’re not alone – a constant stream of bees and other winged insects are stopping by to take a drink from our trickling fountain. It’s a perfect arrangement – they don’t bother us, and we don’t bother them.

As the sun sinks further behind the houses to our west, the blue sky has turned an ashen gray and the rainbow has performed a lovely disappearing act. The doves and the fufu birds are passing overhead, heading for their nighttime sanctuaries. The Pinot Grigio hasn’t stayed as cold as it was when it was poured – after all, between the air temps still hovering around 100 and a patio surface still hot to the touch after such a blazing day, nothing’s going to stay cool out here.

But all is good. The new rabbits are easing into their new situation nicely, the Red Sox are now five – count ‘em, five – games up on the Yankees, I’ve been ordered not to work any more 85-hour weeks, and the surf musicputs my mind and my thoughts at ease.

The perfect song for this moment in time? How about this one from the best damned surf band (in my opinion) there ever was – not to mention one of the finest guitarists I’ve ever heard – The Sandals (featuring John Blakeley) performing their classic “Theme from ‘The Endless Summer’”.

It doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. Enjoy!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:42 | Comments (0)
June 22, 2009

Now that we’re back in the real heat, the petunias out front are on life support. I’ve actually never seen petunia leaves and flowers as small as they are – must be their way to conserve water and survive. If I had Rob’s talent for photography, I’d show you what they look like – I’d call them pitiful petunias.

…but the pool at 88 degrees feels pretty nice.

Thoughts and prayers for healing and continued recovery for Dave’s mom.

Well that was quick. Tracey has decided to rename the new rabbits. Louise is now Ginger – supposedly because: a) she looks like a “Ginger”, and b) she has some ginger color mixed in with her black and white behind her ears – and Clark is now Geronimo. Don’t know where Geronimo comes from, but Tracey likes it. Ginger and Geronimo, kinda has a ring to it, eh?

Walked into the rabbit room/office this morning and found a huge tuft of white fur lying on the floor on Cosmo’s side of the fence. He’s got a long thin snout which he obviously put to good use on one of the newcomers during the night, though no one seems any worse for wear. Call it rabbits working things out.

Congrats to Lucas Glover for his U.S. Open championship. Maybe it was because of the gloomy weather throughout or the lack of big names on the first page of the leaderboard, but I never got any sense of real drama going out there all weekend.

..although David Duval was a good story.

I don’t mean to be callous, and I’m sure they were told to push it on every occasion, but couldn’t we have heard Phil Mickelson’s name mentioned on TV or in print at least once without having his wife Amy’s breast cancer being mentioned in the very next breath or sentence? We all want the best for Amy Mickelson and hope everything turns out OK, but enough already. The fact that his wife has cancer wasn’t going to make him anything less than one of the best golfers in the entire world and any less driven to succeed at what he does best.

Here’s a moving post with great pics by Laura Lee at The Wide Awake Cafe. She’s got a great blog.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:17 | Comments (5)
June 21, 2009

When Marble Jr. passed away a couple of weeks ago it wasn’t a case of if she’d be replaced, but when – after all, we knew that our rabbit Half Pint would be one lonely rabbit without anyone to look down on from her second-story cage. Not to mention te fact that even with two humans and three rabbits the house still felt empty absent Marble Jr.’s commanding presence.

The original thinking was that we’d fill Marble Jr.’s area with a single rabbit, but her area is pretty big – originally it had been set up for her and her partner/mother Pepper – and from our involvement in the East Valley rabbit community we knew there were a number of bonded pairs looking for homes.

So, when I went out today I wasn’t sure if I’d be bringing home one or two rabbits. As it turned out, the rabbit rescue organization had an acute need to find homes for some bonded pairs, so a bonded pair was what I brought home.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the newest members of the Richard household: Louise & Clark!

I don’t know if we’ll keep those names or not – Louis doesn’t look like a Louise and Clark doesn’t look like a Clark to me, but they certainly have the house in a bit of an uproar. Just as Half Pint and Cosmo had to adjust to no more Marble Jr., they’re now going to have to adjust to the new inhabitants of her space.

I think Half Pint is pretty happy with the new company – she gets to watch the activity below her and no longer feel like she’s all alone. Cosmo, on the other hand, is less then impressed with the new arrangement. I think he considers the new buns to be a threat to his status as the “big kahuna” in the house. Right now he’s pissed and sulking all at the same time, but in a few days after everyone settles in to their roles he’ll realize he only has to spend time in their company at night when the room is gated off and he still has the whole house and his secret spaces all to himself during the daytime.

As for the newbies, like all rabbits in a new situation they’re kind of timid, but there seems little question that Louise is the dominant of the pair and Clark is a pretty sensitive fellow. She’s definitely the more inquisitive and self-confident of the two, whereas Clark seems happy just vegging out and digging at the towels that cover their area. We’ll see if the status quo holds after a few days and they get accustomed to their new environment and the ebb and flow of life in the Richard household.

Stay tuned.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:58 | Comment (1)

When Marble Jr. passed away a couple of weeks ago it wasn’t a case of if she’d be replaced, but when – after all, we knew that our rabbit Half Pint would be one lonely rabbit without anyone to look down on from her second-story cage. Not to mention te fact that even with two humans and three rabbits the house still felt empty absent Marble Jr.’s commanding presence.

The original thinking was that we’d fill Marble Jr.’s area with a single rabbit, but her area is pretty big – originally it had been set up for her and her partner/mother Pepper – and from our involvement in the East Valley rabbit community we knew there were a number of bonded pairs looking for homes.

So, when I went out today I wasn’t sure if I’d be bringing home one or two rabbits. As it turned out, the rabbit rescue organization had an acute need to find homes for some bonded pairs, so a bonded pair was what I brought home.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the newest members of the Richard household: Louise & Clark!

I don’t know if we’ll keep those names or not – Louis doesn’t look like a Louise and Clark doesn’t look like a Clark to me, but they certainly have the house in a bit of an uproar. Just as Half Pint and Cosmo had to adjust to no more Marble Jr., they’re now going to have to adjust to the new inhabitants of her space.

I think Half Pint is pretty happy with the new company – she gets to watch the activity below her and no longer feel like she’s all alone. Cosmo, on the other hand, is less then impressed with the new arrangement. I think he considers the new buns to be a threat to his status as the “big kahuna” in the house. Right now he’s pissed and sulking all at the same time, but in a few days after everyone settles in to their roles he’ll realize he only has to spend time in their company at night when the room is gated off and he still has the whole house and his secret spaces all to himself during the daytime.

As for the newbies, like all rabbits in a new situation they’re kind of timid, but there seems little question that Louise is the dominant of the pair and Clark is a pretty sensitive fellow. She’s definitely the more inquisitive and self-confident of the two, whereas Clark seems happy just vegging out and digging at the towels that cover their area. We’ll see if the status quo holds after a few days and they get accustomed to their new environment and the ebb and flow of life in the Richard household.

Stay tuned.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:58 | Comment (1)
June 19, 2009

..for your listening pleasure. I was so stoked by their grooves that I downloaded several new titles and reconfigured my surf MP3:

1. Reverb Galaxy’s “Angle of Attack”. This Maryland surf band has a dynamite sound – “10 Miles To Nags Head” has a semi-acoustic feel not unlike The Super Stocks’ “Surf Route 101″ (one of my all-time favorite surf songs) and “Ble Sunset” has a nice laid-back feel – perfect for cocktails on a Sunday afternoon by the water.

2. Shig and The Buzz’s “Sonic Traveler” will knock your jirachi sandals off. Just listen to the tropics-drenched sound of “Hawaii” and tell me this isn’t a great band. And their “Double Diamonds Deluxe” is just as good – “Lost In The Shadows”, “Sweet December”, and “Twilight” are the standout cuts here.

Just goes to show you don’t have to time travel back to the ’60s to find great rock instrumental music.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:43 | Comments (7)

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