January 31, 2010

It was around 4 AM the other day when I woke up and realized my “Tropical Breezes” MP3 was missing an absolutely CRITICAL tune I had apparently forgotten about a long time ago. Remember Bobby Bloom’s “Montego Bay” from when it was released way back in 1970? I liked it then, I realized I just HAD to have it now on my MP3. It took a little wrangling to find it – after all, you can’t get it Amazon or Napster but I got it.

And now, my MP3, chock full of steel drum music, lots of mellow Jimmy Buffett, a few Herb Alpert tunes, and some other tunes that fit the mood of the Caribbean and the islands feels complete.

Here’s a YouTube video of Bloom singing “Montego Bay” – to me he sounds like an early Michael Bolton.

Interestingly, Bloom lived a tragically short life in which he battled depression and died violently. Before that, I found it interesting he wrote tunes with Jeff Barry, who penned a whole lot of ’60s AM radio hits, and co-wrote Tommy James and the Shondells‘ hit “Mony, Mony”. Who knew?

Pool temp: 51

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:10 | Comments (0)
January 30, 2010

moon Tonight features the biggest, brightest full moon of the year. It’s called the “Wolf Moon”, and it was so bright I could actually read the temperature on the pool thermometer at midnight. Not surprising – tonight’s moon is 17% larger than normal and 31% brighter than normal, given the moon’s unusually-close proximity to planet earth.

Tracey interned at a number of hospitals during college and tells me it’s absolutely true that hospital ERs dread full moons like this because all sorts of wacky stuff happens – “la bella luna” brings out the craziness in people.

It’s truly beautiful out here tonight – the palm branches are glistening in the lunar glow, and all is calm. Everything seems so peaceful, I can see how a night like this would stir a poet’s heart:

“Wolf Moon”

Wolf Moon, is that you
howling through the courtyard,
banging at our windows,
stripping shingles from the roof,
demanding to be let in? You,

hungry, in your winter coat,
fur tipped with frost and snow?
I hear you prowling, your breath
puffs coldness under the door.
Wolf Moon, I cannot see you,

but I know you’re there.

OK, so it’s not a “moon” poem, per se, but I did like the imagery.

—-

Pool temp: 51 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:25 | Comments (2)
January 29, 2010

I don’t get to watch FOX News’s Glenn Beck much – he’s on too early here in Arizona and I’m usually up to my eyeballs in work crises at that time. But the times I’ve watched him I always get a kick out of his irreverent approach to questioning Washington’s “conventional wisdom” (a misnomer if there ever was one) and the liberal state-run media.

This video shows exactly why Beck is so popular. In response to this pathetic screed by Time Magazine’s uber-liberal Joe Klein, Beck uses humor, sarcasm, and not a little bit of those things both liberals and progressives seem to hate the most – i.e., facts and the truth – to rip Klein’s elitist views and arguments to shreds. I thought it was a gas, perhaps you will too.

Pool temp: 51 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:07 | Comments (0)
January 28, 2010

Watched the President’s speech tonight and came away feeling sad as much as anything. Despite my personal dislike of the President and distaste for his politics and policies, I was hoping that a more pragmatic and conciliatory (I dared not to expect humble!) President would present himself tonight, especially given the recent losses of his party in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and recent polls that indicate the dire straits both he and his party is in at this point in the 2010 election season.

So what did we get? Unfortunately, more of the same in the way of high-falutin’ empty rhetoric and promises that, if history is to be judged, he has little or no interest in keeping. To me, that’s OK – after all, that’s what State of the Union speeches are for. By their very nature they’re long, self-serving and congratulating, partisan, and generally pretty boring affairs, so I get that, and, like I say, that’s OK.

What made me sad and truly fearful of this man’s presidency, was the general angry, petty, and condescending tone of his overall speech. The Obama of the 2008 campaign trail had that “hope and change” mantra going, and he could turn a phrase and offer up a self-deprecating jibe at himself and the powers that be in Washington in a way that made him both likeable and approachable (even if that weren’t true).

One year into his presidency, Obama’s SOTU speech was an uninspiring and critical affair where everyone from George W. Bush, Democrats and Republicans, the voters, talk radio, and, yes, even the members of the Supreme Court (sitting directly in front of him) were subject to his barbs and criticism. In fact, the only one who he didn’t blame for the state this country is in at the present was numero uno. This wasn’t a nice speech; it wasn’t gracious, it wasn’t hopeful, it certainly wasn’t classy, and more than that, it wasn’t presidential.

I think National Review Online’s Yuval Levin put it best:

…But on the whole, this was really an incredibly graceless, self-righteous, and grouchy performance. It had a lot of what’s bad about Obama’s speeches (he said “I” almost a hundred times, repeatedly referred to his campaign as though it were a great American story we all love, continued to blame Bush for everything under the sun even as he said he was “not interested in re-litigating the past,” and piled clichés sky high) but none of what’s good about his speeches—the simple theme simply pursued. It was a very Clintonian speech without Clinton’s human charm.

I truly believe tonight’s speech marks the beginning of the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, and that makes me sad. Not for the person, since I truly believe Barack Obama’s true goal has always been to destroy capitalism and the socio-economic fabric of the United States, and he and the hoodlums and cronies he has surrounded himself with get what they deserve, but for all those people who truly believed the hype and aura candidate Obama’s team created around him. Obama was different. Obama would make everything right, Obama would usher in a new “era of good feeling”.

Sure, he might still be able to turn a phrase when read off a TelePrompTer, but how sad it is that in just a little over two years Mr. “Hopenchange” has revealed himself to be a thin-skinned, bitter, unprepared, detached, aloof, and arrogant politician unwilling to admit his own mistakes and lacking in any kind of graciousness and class typically associated with the office of the President of the United States.

I’m not saying there isn’t room in an individual elected President for those kinds of negative qualities – hell, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter had them in spades. But the difference is how you present yourself in public. Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign presented himself as a uniter and someone who by his very nature could transcend the partisan bitterness left over from the George W. Bush years. Tonight, when a little self-deprecating humor and sense of humilty would have gone a long way, he showed himself to be someone lacking in those most basic qualities that people seek in a leader. Leaders don’t play the blame game, leaders lead by example.

Most people, I think, in the end – no matter what the state of things are in the country at a given point in time – want to feel good about their President and their country, want to believe that things are going to get better, and will therefore give the President some leeway in the hope and desire of seeing him succeed. Barack Obama’s angry, bitter, and condescending performance tonight will only serve to polarize the electorate further and make the task of those who earnestly want both him and his presidency to succeed all the more tougher.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:40 | Comments (5)
January 27, 2010

Reviewing yesterday’s post and Jana’s comment, I think Jana’s right.

Because The Great White Shank and his fellow Goodboys co-conspirators The Funny Guy and Doggy Duval need it bad. Real bad.

Hmmm… an upcoming weekend in Las Vegas during Super Bowl week ought to do the trick. Yeah.

This will serve to whet the appetite a bit….

And this version (with an outstanding video that really captures the color, the lights, and the excitement of “Sin City”) is outta sight. Very retro, too bad a lot of what made “classic” Vegas classic is gone.

Still, I can’t wait.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 09:39 | Comments (0)

Let me first state for the record that I detest most politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. Oh, I’m sure there are exceptions on both sides of the political aisle, and to be honest, my only exposure to aactual political figure and campaign was back in the early ’70s when I didn’t know any better and John Kerry of all people was running for Congress on an anti-Vietnam War platform.

But in my mind the only thing most politicians are interested in are feathering their own pockets at the expense of hard-working taxpayers who don’t have, say, the luxury of taking their spouses and well-connected friends on junkets to Denmark to watch a bunch of limp-wristed Europeans and third-world despots attempt to fleece the pockets of the industrialized nations for the sake of some totally contrived idea that the fate of the world hangs in our ability to counteract human-induced climate change.

What a bunch of idiots. What a bunch of bullshit.

This is very cool, though….

But I digress.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. I look and listen to these clowns, this Barack Obama, this Harry Reid, this Nancy Pelosi, this Barney Frank, and ask myself: who on earth would ever vote for these imbeciles to an office higher than your average town clerk job? I mean, who do these people think they are? Talk about being drunk with power! And how many actual living, breathing people have these clowns ever represented in their districts? 20K?, 40K? And now they’re all of a sudden so smart that they can decide how 1/4 (banking/finance) and 1/6 of our economy (health care) should operate?

I think not.

My whole point is this: I despise the so-called “gentlemen” and “gentlewomen” who we have put in charge of this country. You listen to them give speeches in their various houses or blather on the cable talking-head shows, and you just shake your head as they spout their own party’s talking points. You look at them and wonder if they’ve ever so much as run a business, treated a patient, worn a decent suit, held a real job, or received a paycheck that wasn’t courtesy of the taxpayers of their state or district.

We need new blood, new leadership, desperately, because I’m thoroughly convinced that Barack Obama is nothing more than an egomaniacal, socialist ideologue who would need instructions as to how to run a capitalist lemonade stand; that his wife is nothing but an angry, bitter powermonger whose grandiose ideas of her own so-called class, culture, and intellect are the result of the syncophants she and her husband have surrounded themselves with. That if Harry Reid wasn’t a U.S. senator that he’d have a damned hard time holding a job shining shoes at Las Vegas’s McCarron Airport; that Nancy Pelosi is a frustrated, power-hungry witch who could care less about what anyone outside of her corrupt circle of well-connected hacks thinks. That Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain all ought to think about finding new pastures to graze upon.

And to top it all off, my pool temperature is heading south as quickly as Barack Obama’s fortunes. I’ll see this about “The Messiah”: he makes Bill Clinton look like Abraham Lincoln.

Pool temp: 50 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:09 | Comment (1)
January 26, 2010

Lately it’s been pretty quiet on the Tiger Woods front, but The Daily Beast’s Gerald Posner has the inside scoop on the chain of events (hat tip: Jay Busbee’s Devil Ball Golf blog) that turned the golf world upside down the day after Thanksgiving.

Me, I always thought Thanksgiving night was for laying low, having a few cocktails after cleaning up the kitchen, maybe a hot open-faced turkey sandwich after playing a board game or two with the relatives, right? Well, that’s not exactly how Thanksgiving night played out at the Woods residence (my boldings):

…The next day, Thanksgiving, Elin learned some of the Enquirer’s specifics about the purported affair, including a recent rendezvous in Australia. That evening, the two argued. Tiger decided to end the bickering , both sources confirm, by taking Ambien and going to sleep. (According to what Elin has told one of the sources, Woods regularly had trouble sleeping, and Ambien was his primary sleep aid.)

After Woods fell asleep, Elin looked through his cellphone, both sources confirmed. There she found text messages to Uchitel’s number—Uchitel was apparently listed in Tiger’s cellphone under her real name—and among them she discovered one that said, “You are the only one I’ve loved.”

Shortly after 1 a.m. in Florida, Elin began texting Uchitel, pretending to be Tiger, according to both sources. Elin wrote, “I miss you,” and asked, “When are we seeing each other again?”

Uchitel texted back, seemingly surprised that Woods was awake. Elin specifically felt, one source told me, that this response indicated that the two of them spoke earlier that night, before Tiger took his Ambien. At that point, Elin called Uchitel, who answered thinking it was Tiger calling. Both sources said that Elin said something approximating, “I knew it was you.”

Uchitel’s surprised reply, according to what Elin told one source: “Oh f–k.” She immediately hung up.

Normally quiet and controlled, Elin later told one source she became enraged and woke Tiger by screaming at him. He seemed disoriented, still in a stupor from the Ambien. The fight ratcheted up quickly.

But then chaos ensued when she grabbed his cellphone when he came out after locking himself in the bathroom for several minutes. Both sources confirm that Tiger had apparently, shortly after waking up, sent another short text to Uchitel warning that Elin had uncovered the affair, that he was about to pack, and that a divorce might be imminent.

Elin didn’t tell Woods what she’d seen, one source says. She simply exploded, trying to hit him on the chest and arms with her fists, and then finally chasing him from the house while she wielded a golf club. Shoeless, he ran into the car and barreled out of the driveway before careening off a fire hydrant and then smashing into a tree. Neither source said they knew the details of how the rear windows in the Escalade were knocked out, though one source says that the story Tiger told police at the accident scene about Elin smashing them in an attempt to free him from the wreck was a lie designed to protect his wife.

Ahh, yes the holiday season. A magical time to share warm and happy moments with loved ones. Me, I just don’t understand it. Isn’t the whole idea of cheating on one’s spouse to do it in a way that – oh, I don’t know – maintains the other person’s anonymity? I’m not speaking from experience here, I’m just thinking the whole thing out logically.

All of this is pretty amazing stuff, but it sure makes a lot of sense. I’ve always thought the main reason we haven’t seen Tiger anywhere on TV to this point – if only just to beg forgiveness from his fans, his sponsors, and the PGA Tour – is because he got beat up pretty bad and he’s still healing from the plastic surgery he required after the beating he received. In my view, he gets whatever he deserves. There’s being naughty and there’s being stupid. As good a golfer as Tiger Woods is and will continue to be at some point, he’s guilt of both.

Pool temp: 53 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:01 | Comments (0)
January 25, 2010

Lots of work this weekend cleaning up dust, dirt, and debris from last week’s series of storms. Fortunately, we ended up with only a little over 2 inches of rain spread across four days, so most of my clean-up involved sweeping debris from the neighbors’ trees that ended up in our pool. Not that far away from us, however, to the south in Chandler, and to the north and east in Gilbert and Scottsdale they experienced much more rain – as much as 4 or 5 inches – and I saw a lot of wind damage in my travels. For some reason, the western end of Gilbert where we lives always seems to escape the worst. Perhaps it has something to do with the geography around here…

And now it’s the East Coast’s turn. Good luck with that.

Two great NFL playoff games today. For a while there I really thought the Jets had a chance to stun the Colts.

And folks in The Big Easy must have been going nuts during that Vikings game. The Vikes kind of collapsed there towards the end of the game, that Favre interception was a killer. But I’m glad, and you can bet I’ll be rooting for the Saints two weeks’ hence.

Pool temp: 51 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:00 | Comments (0)
January 22, 2010

This will go down as a historic week in terms of southwestern U.S. weather history. Actually, it hasn’t been too bad here in Gilbert, since we’re on the SE side of Phoenix, but anywhere north and east or west of here, the series of storms we’ve had over the past few days has been positively apocolyptic in terms of moisture. There’s word of 8 to 10 feet (!) of snow to the north and west of here, and tonight there were even tornado watches all across central/south Arizona tonight.

The rain gauge here in Gilbert says we’ve gotten 1.5 inches of rain since Tuesday, but we had a lot of wind today. My phony palm trees were blown all to hell and the tiki bar legs were actually under water for several hours but we came through alright.

I will say this: my pool water temperature has really jumped because of all the rain. Last week it was 48 degrees, tonight we’re up to a balmy 54. How do I know? Just wait until my photo expose and interview next week with “Mr. Sharkey”.

Pool temp: 54 degrees!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:26 | Comments (0)
January 21, 2010

The news of Scott Brown’s upset victory in yesterday’s Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate is still reverberating around the nation. It’s still too soon to assess what the long-term impact of Brown’s election will be, but there’s no question that the short-term impact is that of the Democrats scrambling to develop a go-forward strategy for their healthcare agenda.

Yeah, I know that there are some who are calling Obamacare “dead”, but I don’t buy it. In fact, once the dust settles, I believe the Democrats are going to decide they have nothing to lose except their jobs in November, and for the long-term “good” (in their eyes) of the nation, they’ll willingly to sacrifice their seats in the Congress and the Senate to make history and pass a significant healthcare reform bill.

Remember, you have to think like a liberal and a Democrat – once you get something into law, it will be virtually impossible for any future Congress or President to get rid of it. Think about it: how many government programs are you aware of that have ever been sun-setted? Exactly. And Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod, and Barack Obama all know this.

Will Obamacare pass in its’ present state? Probably not. But mark my words, health care reform will pass this year, whether the people like it or not.

Have you seen the latest in the series of “Hitler learns” videos up on YouTube? Before I link to it, here’s a little background:

Welcome to what has variously been called the Hitler Internet Meme, the Hitler Rant Parodies and the “Downfall” Mash-ups, an unusually hardy strain of viral video in which a scene from Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 film “Der Untergang” (“Downfall”), about the last days of the Third Reich, is given new subtitles in order to comment on current events or to express displeasure with some recent bit of technology or pop cultural product.

I’ve watched a number of these, and some of them are pretty clever (“Hitler gets screwed by a car salesman”), others are kinda stupid (“Hitler rejected for Joker in Batman 3″), but some just fit perfectly the gloomy atmosphere of desperation and paranoia the subject demands. Here, Hitler learns Scott Brown has won the Massachusetts Senate race, and it is devastingly funny and amazingly on target.

While we’re on the subject of YouTube videos, I came across this last weekend and found it extraordinarily well done and powerful in both its images and message. And that was before the politically cataclysmic events of last night.

Lots of rain here last night – almost an inch, with an even bigger storm due here tomorrow. It’s nice to actually have weather to talk about for a change.

Pool temp: 53 degrees!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:47 | Comment (1)

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