November 29, 2009

gb1 Greetings from Room 120 at Hamilton Lodge at Grotto Bay Beach Resort, Bailey’s Bay, Bermuda!

We arrived yesterday afternoon after a hellish, 4+ hour red-eye from Phoenix filled with coughing and sneezing passengers – I half expected Homeland Security to quarantine the plane at Philadelphia – something I promise I will never do again, I’m just getting too old for that. The 2-hour flight from Philadelphia was blissfully uneventful, and we arrived in the midst of a full-fledged “banana wind” following a squally front that had soaked the island the night before. Maybe it was the feel of wind and humid air on the skin, or perhaps it was the two Planters Punches with fish-and-chips in Grotto Bay’s beautiful Palm Court Restaurant…

gb2

…or both, at any rate the memories of the previous night soon melted away, allowing for a luxurious afternoon cat-nap. Waking sufficiently refreshed for walk in the slightly cool night while Tracey slept, I took a shower, put on my best smart dress (white pants and a Hawaiian shirt), and took the ten-minute walk to the Swizzle Inn for some Bermuda fish chowder and a local ale on a windswept balcony, the wind in the palm trees providing just the right auditory accompaniment and a perfect nightcap to one frantic day.

While this is our third time at Grotto Bay – an Omama-esque “shout out”, BTW, to my Auntie Marge for finding us this lovely destination for our honeymoon 23 years ago – it’s our sixth overall visit to Bermuda. Tracey and I have been privileged to visit many tropical locales, and while nothing I doubt will ever match the magical beauty of the Kahala Resort on Oahu or the colorful fun of Cozumel as our favorite vacation destinations, no matter what might be troubling situation or soul at any time, the laid-back lifestyle of this island always seems to offer a much-need break and tonic.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 08:15 | Comments (0)
November 27, 2009

Tonight my lovely wife and I will be jetting to Bermuda via Philadelphia (now there’s a contrast!) for four days of relaxation, Tracey style. The Christmas tree is up and there’s holiday music on the DirecTV, but it doesn’t feel like Christmas season. Heck, the tree is only up so Tracey’s sister-in-law can have something to decorate and visit while we’re away. If it were up to me, I’d avoid the whole month of December completely and go directly to January (without collecting my $200), as I’m weary of 2009 and all the crap that this year has brought.

This whole house feels like it needs a new start, and the only concern I have for 2010 is that I might sometime during the year look back on the golden days of 2009. So much for being a “glass half-full” guy – now I’m wondering what new disaster lies around the corner. Hope for the best, cope with the rest, right?

But that’s for another day. Bermuda’s a beautiful place and while it wasn’t really my choice to go so soon after our trip to New Orleans, one look at the turqoise waters and the humid air is bound to make things feel a whole lot better, and after our last couple of months I’m willing to give this a go. And Grotto Bay Beach Resort is a wonderful place for peace and quiet, and a little R&R.

Hope everyone out there has a good weekend, I have a feeling I will.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:37 | Comments (0)
November 26, 2009

72940def5d76447c Anyone who has been following this site over the past few months knows that this has been one hell of a year for The Great White Shank and our household and family. But there are a lot of things to be thankful for. I hope everyone out there will take some quiet time amidst the frantic pace of this kick-off to the holiday season to count the many blessings we all share.

Me?

First and foremost, I’m thankful for my health and physical and mental well-being. They say, ‘health is wealth’, and I’ve learned this year that nothing is truer. I used to think the line between health and sickness, and sanity and insanity was a pretty fine one. Now I know that it’s T H I S W I D E. Sure, we all have our moments of so-called ‘madness’, but that’s just the normal human bullshit we all carry around inside of us. When you go physically and clinically over the edge, it ain’t pretty, and the cost can be devastating, not just for the families involved, but for our society as well.

…I’m thankful every morning I can get up and go to the bathroom on my own, without anyone to assist me.

…I’m thankful for the freedoms this country provides me in terms of freedom of speech, movement, the ability to earn wages, and worship the God of my choice. At least until President Obama and the Democrats take it all away from both me and you in 2010.

…I’m grateful for surf music – many times a classic surf song or sound coming off the MP3 player has kept me from reaching for the big knife on the pantry shelf. Ditto The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

…I’m grateful for my parents, and the love, care, and support they provided me both growing up and to this day.

…I’m grateful to have been born and raised in the era I was brought up in. I’m 54 and wouldn’t trade my age for anything. I feel bad for the young people of today who, by and large, know nothing about taste, class, and appreciation. This over-sexed, over-consumed, and overly narcissistic society and culture truly makes me sick to my stomach at times.

…I’m grateful for all my Goodboys friends, my non-Goodboy friends, and my wife Tracey. Sure, I’m surrounded by idiots, but damn it, they’re my idiots. And I’m damned glad to say I’m proud to be one of theirs.

…I’m grateful for clean water and the abundance of food you can find anytime, any day in any supermarket down the street. How many people on this earth can say the same?

…I’m grateful for those who support Project Harambee and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. They’re my two favorite charities, and I encourage everyone, if you can find it in your heart, to drop them (or those charities you support) a donation during this holiday season.

…I’m grateful to the Roman Catholic Church, who has offered me a home where I can worship God and our Lord Jesus Christ, confident that the teachings and traditions they exemplify haven’t changed in over 2000 years. To that end, this is worth checking out and signing if you agree. I have.

…I’m NOT grateful for the false religion of diversity, multiculturalism and acceptance, and those who use it as a weapon to bash the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s all the work of Satan using athiests to undermine and destroy the Church and the Good News of Jesus Christ risen from the dead. Without the hope of eternal life, one has nothing. And that’s what these people are all about, destroying hope under the false guise of making people feel good about the destructive life choices they make.

…And while I’m at it, I’m not grateful for the New York Yankees, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, the Democrats in the U.S. Congress and Senate, and the mainstream dino-media (i.e., NY Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN – you know, that cable network that no one would ever watch if it wasn’t on every airport monitor, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, etc.).

Well, OK, the Yankees are fine, they deserved their World Series championship. :-) But the others are trying to destroy this country and people out there better wake up before they actually get around to doing it.

But enough negativity.

For everyone who frequents this blog, no matter what your political, religious, and cultural stripe, my most sincere hope and prayer for a happy and blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season to you and yours. We’ve almost made it to the end of the first decade of the Third Millennium, let’s try to keep it that way.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from The Great White Shank and all of Goodboys Nation.

UPDATE: 10 AM: How foolish of me to omit three other things I’m thankful for this day:

1. Our men and women serving our nation in the armed forces in various places across the globe and the sacrifices of their families who long for their presence around the Thanksgiving table. The good folks at Fort Hood are on my mind this day, as it must be a very difficult one for the survivors of the massacre there.

2 & 3. The fact that both Tracey and I have a roof over our heads and jobs – I know all to well the latter, I was called at 6 AM this morning by one of my clients! I still remember seeing all the homeless people living in cardboard boxes under the I-75 overpass in St. Petersberg while looking for my sister-in-law. It’s so easy to take these kinds of things for granted.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:02 | Comment (1)
November 24, 2009

Hey, I’m just posting, you be the judge:

This, I find to be utterly unbelievable given our recession economy and brutal unemployment numbers. And you wonder why people are angry out there.

Just checking: feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth, Obama fans?

The Obama “passion index” down to -15 on Rassmussen. Can’t say I disagree with the numbers. Is there anyone out there who has a clue as to what the Obama administration is doing right now? Other than, that is, bowing to our global competition, dithering over Afghanistan, and sitting idly by while the Democrats in Washington try to shove through healthcare reform in the dark of night on weekends without any consideration of the real impact it will have on the economy?

To call it all dangerous and reckless doesn’t begin to tell the story. Regarding the health care debacle, I can’t put it any better than NRO’s Jeffrey H. Anderson.

Independents are leaving Democrats in droves. So much for that happy, touchy-feely, giddy “hope and change” mantra. This has got to be worrisome for Democrats. After all, Independents are what got Obama elected in the first place, now they’re just finding out that the guy is an empty-suit street organizer / Alinsky socialist from Chicago who hasn’t a freakin’ clue about managing anything, let alone being President.

When voters in an overwhelmingly Democratic and union state such as New Jersey believe 3-1 that state worker wages should be frozen and 2-1 that there should be layoffs, that oughta speak volumes. Coming, BTW, to a state near you.

Now that’s “Hope and Change” even I can believe in!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:48 | Comments (0)
November 22, 2009

I want to speak from the heart for this particular post. There have been a lot of people out there keeping Tracey and me and Tracey’s sister Tammy in there prayers, and for all of you who have done so over the past month or so, I don’t know what else to say except thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

After being discharged from the psychiatric hospital she was orginally admitted into over a month ago, Tam has made a lot of progress, to the point where she now shares an apartment with another person in the state’s psychiatric outpatient program just a few miles away from where we live. She has her own bedroom, bathroom, and east-facing balcony where she can sip her morning coffee while watching the sun come up and appreciate the safe and secure environment she has now been placed in for the next year.

It’s hard to believe the situation we were in just over a month ago could improve to the extent it has, but I think that’s where the power of prayer comes in. I’ve always believed God helps those who help themselves, but that ability can only come from the recesses of one’s soul, and it is at the “soul level” that the power of prayer on behalf of someone can change everything. And the more the better!

Tammy has always believed that to believe in one’s self requires us to knowingly accepting the weaknesses we all have. To know that people out there are praying for us not only reassures us of the inherent goodness of humankind, but also the fact that, no matter how bad things might get, we are not alone. The knowledge of others praying for us also inspires us to do the same for others. After all she’s been through, the fact that she still sees the glass as “half open” is an astounding thing to behold.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers over the last couple of months. I will keep you posted as to Tam’s continued progress. We welcome your thoughts and prayers to help Tam overcome the horrific experiences of the last few months and enable her to become the person God has wanted her to be. We believe Tam has been brought to Arizona for some reason beyond our comprehension; our challenge is simply to accompany Tam on that walk and help her out as best we can.

And with your help Tam will be able to do just that. We are grateful to each and every one of you for helping us get through the crisis of the past few months.

Thank you, one and all. From the bottom of our hearts.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:34 | Comments (3)
November 20, 2009

…what idiot made the decision to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civil courtroom, in New York City? Combatants of war should be tried in military courts, where there is no opportunity for the defendent to turn the case in a circus and drum up radical Islam resentment around the world. It’s just another example of the 9/10 mentality that seems to be ingrained in Democrats and liberals these days.

…I think this was a long time coming. I’m sure it’ll be appealed and probably go all the way to the Supreme Court, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government that oversees their projects and funding have a lot to answer for. Of course, there’s probably a good argument to be made that the negligence involved can be shared at the local and state level as well. At least the lawyers will eat good.

…I’ve never been a proponent of the death penalty, but every now and then you get crimes like this that make you want to reconsider that position.

…after that, I need a happy rabbit pic of the day to cheer me up.

…I find President Obama’s joke about meeting the troops in Korea being a “good photo-op” in poor paste and beneath the dignity of the Presidency. As a commenter here put it:

More than anything, his remark reveals a lack of seriousness toward the military and that he lives in a bubble. You just don’t joke about the military being “a good photo-op.” EVER.

Not when brave men and women are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time. It truly begs the question when we might finally expect this President to show himself as a serious leader and Commander-in-Chief as opposed to Campaigner-in-Chief. We already know he does that well.

…I would expect to start seeing more headlines like this once the holidays are over and people start paying closer attention to the mid-term elections. Especially when people start trying to figure out just what, exactly, President Obama and the Democrat-led and controlled Congress have accomplished in his first year in office.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:31 | Comments (0)
November 19, 2009

…to start thinking about the festivities that will surround the 2010 Goodboys Invitational. Think about it: 2010 be the year the event around which the entire Goodboys Nation universe evolves turns 20 – twenty! – and defending champions Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis and Jay “Crusher” Spielberg have promised the ‘Boys a memorable weekend on the New Hampshire / Maine seacost to commemorate this incredible achievement.

Heck, even the Royal & Ancient (the Brits version of our PGA) thinks Goodboys turning the big 2-0 should mean something special. And why wouldn’t they? After all, The Open Championship (professional golf’s third major event of the year) is played the same week as the Goodboys Invitational. How special, you ask? Special enough that they’ve granted 5-time Open champion Tom Watson and 2-time Open champion Greg Norman special exemptions to enable them to participate in the next five Opens, regardless of their age and the states of their various games.

Goodboys be advised: the 20th annual Goodboys Invitational is scheduled for July 16-18, 2010. My recommendation is that Cubby start practicing now – The Great White Shank might be depending on him to make them odds-on favorites to take the crown next year.

Ya never know…

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:37 | Comment (1)
November 17, 2009

Our French Quarter weekend lived up to all expectations. Tracey got away from all the family stresses and strains, and I got a chance to visit once again my favorite vacation spot. The highlights? Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Beignets and Cafe au Laits to go at Cafe du Monde. The line was incredibly long, but one of the hired help came up to me out of nowhere and asked if he could take my order. Saved me probably a half-hour, so I made sure it was worth his while. Musta thought I had a friendly face. No wonder I love that town so much!

2. Char-grilled oysters at Acme Oyster House. My friend Rock turned me on to these a few years back, and they’re just as good as I remembered them. Sopping up the butter, garlic, and oyster juice with french bread is a guilty pleasure matched only, perhaps, by this.

3. Shrimp Roumelade at Antoine’s. To call it shrimp cocktail simply doesn’t do it justice. Actually, our entire meal there was fabulous, including chateaubriand just like my mom would like it cooked (medium rare, tending towards the latter). Fabulous.

4. A walk along The River between Riverwalk and the Vieux Carre. I never knew The Crazy Lobster was even there. Don’t know if the food is any good, but you can do a whole lot worse than sitting in the sun on a pleasant fall afternoon listening to a jazz band and watching the river traffic drift by in the open air.

5. Dan was right – the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone was a regular stop. A wonderful hotel and a great location.

6. A big shout-out, Obama-style to Ricky Perez, day manager at the Omni Royal Orleans. The fact he gave us a full refund for our cancelled visit in September after the corporate Nazis told me in no uncertain terms to go take a hike shows you just how classy a joint the ORO is, and just how cool a place it is to stay. The Monteleone was great, but no one – and I mean no one – has a better rooftop pool setting than the ORO. Thank you, Mr. Ricky, I promise we’ll be back as soon as our economic situation allows.

7. The Zydeco Gumbo and Crawfish Entoufee at Mulate’s was as good as I remember. And the zydeco music entertainment provided by La Touche was très bon.

8. Rock window-shopping was a great deal of fun. Sure, all the jewelry on Royal Street was hideously overpriced, but it was still a lot of fun to gawk and awe. And yes, we still have our eye on that big honkin’ Morganite at La Petit Fleur. Maybe in the next life…

9. Strawberries in double cream at Brennan’s for breakfast. Yeah, one might say $7.95 for a breakfast appetizer could be considered a bit pricey, but you only go around once in life, and those damned strawberries were really to die for.

10. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville was a fun stop. The food was just OK, but the mojitos and margaritas at the Tire Swing Bar were a lot of fun, and The Margaritaville Store around the corner had a lot of cool stuff.

All in all, it was a great weekend with great weather and one with a lot of rest and relaxation. Now, back to your regularly-scheduled programming…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:06 | Comments (2)
November 16, 2009

…of one of the most electric pop performances you’ll ever hear.

1968. I still remember going into Boston with Ron Martin and a few of my DeMolay chapter friends to go record shopping (back in those pre-mall days, you went “into town” to go shopping for anything truly significant!) and picking up the new Beatles 45 RPM “Hey Jude” / Revolution” – in my view the greatest double-side any pop band has ever released – for just 99 cents (!) at the Jordan Marsh.

Sh*t, I’m dating myself, aren’t I?

I had heard “Hey Jude” on the radio and remember feeling both mesmerized and entranced by its exotic nature (a 7:06 song played in its entirety, even on AM stations in the era of the two-minute one-hit wonder!) and its crystal-clear arrangement. And whether it was the times, the raging hormones (I was thirteen), or both, it was songs like “Hey Jude”, “Soul Coaxing”, Herb Alpert’s “Flamingo”, and The Ronettes’ “Do I Love You”) that led me into seeking a deeper appreciation and understanding not just for music, but the arrangements behind the music.

But I digress.

It wasn’t until I brought the “Hey Jude” 45 home that I heard its B side for the first time. Talk about jaw-dropping!

What is it about “Revolution” I liked from the start? Sure, that unearthly dirty fuzz guitar that opened and then drove the song had a lot to do with it – I’d heard nothing like it until that time – but what really sealed the deal was the fact that my parents didn’t like it at all. I can still remember to this day playing it on my little turntable in my bedroom and my mom telling me that while “Hey Jude” was OK, she didn’t like “Revolution” at all, and I should turn it down.

I was hooked.

“Turn it down.” When you’re thirteen all you really want to do is find things that you know your parents will object to in some form or another. And it was John Lennon and that unbelievably dirty fuzz guitar and chaotic, yet controlled, arrangement that led me into that oh-so-precious adolescent realm. It’s still one of my favorite Beatles tunes, guaranteed to perk my ears up whenever I hear it.

Just goes to show just how eclectic – and electric – The Beatles were.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:27 | Comment (1)
November 14, 2009

I hope everyone’s having a nice and restful November weekend. Here’s a poem I found to reflect the quiet joy of one of my favorite months…

“How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.”

- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

Hat tip: egreenway.com

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:25 | Comments (0)

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