February 28, 2010

Prayers for the people of Chile, that was quite an earthquake they had yesterday. Were I living in L.A. or San Francisco, I wouldn’t be too happy about all this. The Pacific Rim has been extremely active the past couple of years, and it’s only time before something really big strikes there.

That was also quite a storm that hit New England the other day – a 91-mile gust on the Isle of Shoals just off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 8 inches of rain in parts of Maine, extensive damage across central and eastern New England, and huge snowfalls in upstate New York. And there’s more to come.

And there’s a big storm hitting western Europe.

Of course, none of is unusal for this floating ball of rock we call home. There have always been major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe winter storms; it’s just that nowadays in this media-saturated world, if a cow appears to flatulate more than usual, it must be global warming and everything’s going to hell in a handbasket.

It’s like the old weather forecast joke, I predict if this keeps up there’ll be more of it.

Pool temp: 56 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:35 | Comments (0)
February 27, 2010

Tracey and I have been back and forth, back and forth, on when to get started on taking care of some major upgrades on the house that have been long overdue, and today we decided to take the dive. A few months ago we had gotten a quote of $12K from a company called Western States Flooring, but they didn’t seem all that interested in us, and, I was pretty lukewarm about the whole thing. Then, during my Vegas weekend a few weeks ago (it already seems like a year!), one of my Goodboys friends, Doggy Duval, told me he thought I could do better than that, so we decided to table the discussion for a while.

This week, however, one of Tracey’s co-workers gave her a “wow!” recommendation for a company called Grizzle Flooring, so we decided to give them a call. From their visit and ‘design session” today, it was clear these were the kind of guys we could work with. Not only did they display extensive experience working with our particular layout, but they were very accommodating and willing to guide us with ideas as to what would work within our present arrangement and budget, and what wouldn’t.

So, after going over all the options we decided to take the leap. For 9K, not only are we going to have all the floors re-done with a combination of porcelain tile and wood laminate, but all the furniture, appliance, and toilet moves are included, as well as disposal of all the old carpet and ceramic tile material. In addition, we’re also having the side of our kitchen island that faces the living room, presently just painted in a boring beige, covered with a really exciting glass tile coating.

We’re pretty excited about getting this work done. Not only does this mean the end of the cheap gray carpet, which was ugly before the rabbits (especially The Little Bitch) began to systematically tear it apart, but it also gives us a chance to truly remake this house into our own identity. With the house now nearly twenty years old (we’ve been here over six), it’s long past time for an upgrade. And with real estate values being what they are, you have to keep up with the Joneses, and this will be a positive first step.

And another thing: as it turns out, the Grizzles also do bathroom restorations, and since our master bath was to be next on the to-do list, we also got some great ideas about what to do there. Rather than trying to push a hugely expensive complete re-do, Jeff Grizzle offered up some ideas about how best to work with what we already have and incorprate that into a new tiled shower design. This will ultimately save us more $ in the long run, $ that will ultimately go to replacing all the counter tops, kitchen appliances, the back slider, and all the windows.

There’s a lot of work to be done, but at least we’ve decided to get off the schnide and take the first step forward. Work is scheduled to begin in 2-3 weeks, so watch this spot for exciting before-and-after photos. It ought to be interesting.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:32 | Comments (2)
February 26, 2010

If there’s one thing I absolutely detest about politicians is their incessant use of so-called “letters” they supposedly have received from children all over the U.S. about whatever cause they happen to feel passionate about. During today’s healthcare “summit”, all you heard from President Obama and his fellow Democrats were heart-tugging letters they’d received from children all across the country – children afraid they’re parents were going to die because they didn’t have health insurance or something to that effect.

If it wasn’t little Johnny writing about how his mother is dying because those mean insurance companies turned her down while some CEO is taking his top sales people on a $14 million sales retreat in Vegas, it’s little Sally writing that her parents’ farm is going to be turned into a WalMart, or little Jose wailing about, because of global warming, his father is buying up every piece of Iowa property he can find in the hopes of someday turning it into beachfront property.

I mean, give me a break.

Well, it’s not as if The Great White Shank doesn’t receive letters from children all across the U.S. every single day – of course I do, I’m just hesitant to publish them because they’re just so raw and so honest they’d break your heart. But after hearing all the sob stories carted out by the Democrats today, I feel that, in the interest of full disclosure and journalistic integrity, I must. Here are just a few samples:

Amanda from Cedar Rapids, Iowa writes:

Halo Great White – I’m three months old and I hear my parents making funny sounds from their bedroom while playing Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Hits” CD all the time. How come you haven’t included Barry’s “Copacabana” on your “Tropical Breezes” MP3. Isn’t that song tropical enough for you?

Hmmm… somehow that song just never made the cut. Thanks Amanda.

Kat from Boise, Idaho writes:

Dear Mr. Shank,
I em fore years old. Do you agree with the majority of nuclear physicists that slashing the half-life of an alpha emitter by embedding it in a metal and cooling the metal to a few degrees kelvin could therefore avoid the need to bury nuclear waste in deep repositories, like, say, in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid‘s state of Nevada?

Ummm… I have no response to that, Kat – sorry!

Misty from Nag’s Head, North Carolina writes:

Dear Great White Shank -
Please help my brother Bobby. He’s only 19, but as a result of reading your blog he’s now developed an unhealthy relationship towards the Ronettes and spends every day fantasizing about them singing “Baby, I Love You” to him while he soaks in a bathtub wearing the same Stetson John Wayne wore in “True Grit” on his head. Any suggestions?

Yeah, so, what seems to be the problem?

Dharma from Venice, California writes:

Dude, I’m only two years old, but it doesn’t take an adult or genius to figure out that you’re real problem is that Brian Wilson’s ‘Til I Die has warped your subconscious so much that you and your soul will never be anything in life but a rolling stone. Get over it, dude!

You got me pegged there, Dharma. Rock on, dude!

Harry from Watertown, New York writes:

Dear Sirs -
Please accept this communication as sufficient notification that I am hereby cancelling my subscription to Highlights Magazine. Now that I’m five, my tastes have matured to the point where your publication ceases to thrill me. Do you publish Soldier of Fortune magazine?

Err….

Bobby from Texarkana, Texas writes:

Dear Great White Shank -
I’m nearly ten months old and my daddy is wondering when Top Priority’s single “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” is going to be released. Also, what will the flip side be? Has that been decided yet?

Glad you asked that question, Bobby – we should have a major announcement coming out on that next week.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:03 | Comments (2)
February 25, 2010

All you really need to know about what came out of todays’ so-called “healthcare summit” is that the President had no response to this

America, pay attention before your elected leaders lead you over the cliff into total financial insolvency in the name of a Ponzi scheme designed to make you feel as if they care a rat’s behind about own personal situation and needs.

Because they don’t. It’s all about taking care of the unions and the special interests.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:32 | Comments (0)

Today in the mail I received yet another mailing from the Republican National Committee, expressing their concern that they haven’t received any financial support from me for quite a while. Coincidentally, on the very same day I received this mailing, the alternate media is ablaze with this news breaking across the political landscape (Hat tip: Hot Air):

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers – expenses that are infuriating the party’s major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress.

Most recently, donors grumbled when Steele hired renowned chef Wolfgang Puck’s local crew to cater the RNC’s Christmas party inside the trendy Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then moved its annual winter meeting from Washington to Hawaii.

“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman,” said one longtime Republican fundraiser. “He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”

Louis M. Pope, who chairs the RNC’s Budget Committee, defends Steele’s expenses, arguing that a bump in costs is unavoidable for a party that lacks control of any of the levers of government. “Michael Steele does travel more, but he’s in far more demand. He’s a huge part of the fundraising apparatus,” said Pope. “Nobody is living it up at the RNC. There are a number of upscale events, but those are all profitable.”

I can’t tell you how much this sickens me to no end, but I’m hardly surprised. The whole idea of political parties cozying up to contributors and the special interests is so 20th century. The polls show Americans are sick and tired of business as usual in Washington, and Glenn Beck was absolutely right when he said there’s not a dime’s bit of difference between the parties in the toxic cesspool that is now Washington.

Question to Michael Steele: if the RNC and its own chairman doesn’t show restraint and austerity, why should anyone think the party they represent would be any better than the party currently in power? I mean, how stupid can you be? All this kind of thing does is enrage the very people you should be crafting an alternative message to. The fact you can’t see that makes you as politically tone-deaf as Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, and incapable of presenting yourself and our party as a viable, desirable alternative.

So that’s it. Today, I sent the following e-mail (Subject: Please remove me from your mailing list) to the RNC; in the words of my good friend and fellow Goodboy Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis, I’m “going mustang”, politically:

Dear Sirs;
Please stop sending me further mailings and requests for money. The report out of today’s Politico blog is sufficient evidence to me that, by pissing away the contributions of loyal and hard-working registered Republicans while millions of people are out of work and/or struggling to make ends meet in this troubled economy, the RNC is no better than the Democrats in power. It seems the only thing you and your fellow fat cats in Washington know how to do is shamelessly and recklessly spend other people’s money as if it were your own. It makes me sick and disgusted to call myself a Republican.

I am hereby requesting my name be removed from every and all mailing and call list you might have. Don’t bother to send me another mailing, it will just end up in some lonely Nevada landfill (next to Harry Reid’s political future). I assure you, you’ll never get another dollar or dime from me ever again.

It would appear the RNC will have to learn the same hard lesson the Democrats will most assuredly learn come this November: that people out here on “Main Street” are tired of all you bow-tied, bum-kissing Beltway bureaucrats putting your needs ahead of the country’s. You, and those like you, need not to just be retired, but obliterated from the political landscape.

Like that great Rolling Stones song from 1966, you’re out of time. And I’m out of patience with the likes of you.
Sincerely,
Doug Richard

The revolution is coming, and it’s time for the powers that be in Washington, Republican and Democrat, to be swept away like grains of sand in a strong breeze. And I am making a personal commitment in terms of time and talent that I will do all in my power to ensure that happens to the GOP, from within.

For a great remake of that great Stones’ song, check out this great version from none other than the Ramones. Fantastic.

Pool temp: 54 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:20 | Comments (0)
February 24, 2010

accweather_pic “Monster”. “Hurricane-like storm”. “Paralyzing blizzard”. “Dangerous, destructive”.

Wow! The folks at Accuweather sure know how to throw superlatives around when discussing the nor’easter forecast to roll up the Eastern seaboard late Thursday and pound the Northeast with heavy snow, rain, and wind this Friday. I mean, they’re talking about a cataclysmic event – you know, dogs and cats living together, that kind of thing.

Well, perhaps not, but who knows?

But as a weather buff there were few things I enjoyed more while living in Massachusetts than the anticipation of a big storm coming up the coast. First you’d hear rumors of it from a friend or a teaser on the local news, then you’d start checking out the weather every ten minutes on WBZ 1030 AM and stay up for the weather on the 11 PM news. Pretty soon, you’re planning and rearranging your schedule so as not to risk getting caught on Rte. 128 or stuck in traffic for hours, or without candles, bread, milk, and alcohol (not necessarily in that order!).

Here in the desert Southwest, the locals haven’t a clue as to what that feels like. Everything here is pretty damned predictable: you know by mid-May it will be blistering hot, so you get your A/C unit checked in April. You know by late November the nights will begin to cool, so you get your heating unit checked in October.

So easy, even a caveman could do it.

So, it’s kinda cool to think that the very same system that crossed Arizona yesterday to give us a few hours of soaking rain is the same system that’s now precipitating in Texas and will proceed eastward until it turns into a bomb off the East Coast and slams into my peeps all the way up in New England! Very cool.

storm

Just so you know that even the biggest storms have to start somewhere, somehow, here’s the view from our northeast as the storm approached here in Gilbert. After a morning of soft rain, it got sunny for an hour, then turned quite dark as the main front came through. These clouds gave us a deluge for a good half hour, leaving in its wake a very chilly (at least for this time of year) afternoon and evening that dropped my pool temp, which had been making goo-goo eyes at 60 degrees, back down to a bracing 54.

They’ll be no swimming this weekend, Jackson, but it will still be a whole lot more benign than what the Northeast will get.

Cats and dogs living together, indeed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comment (1)
February 23, 2010

Those who frequent this site know how much of a fan I am of legendary rock producer Phil Spector‘s work in the early ’60s with the Crystals, the Ronettes, the Righteous Brothers, etc. Flushed with success, his eccentricities began to negatively impact his work, and while he would still have occasional flashes of brilliance with the Beatles (“Let It Be“), George Harrison (“All Things Must Pass“), and John and Yoko (“Instant Karma“, “Happy Xmas“, and the “Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine” LPs), his later work (for example, the Ramones’ “End of the Century” LP) were, if not quirky, near caricatures of an earlier genius. As for his personal life, well, let’s just not go there.

But I’m not here to glorify the man, just the music that he made during those glorious years between 1962 and 1966, where he was at the top of his game, and the king of pop producers. This fine YouTube video, I think, does a good job in breaking down the so-called “mystique” of Phil’s “Wall of Sound” recording technique. When you get right down to it, there’s nothing really magical: you carefully situate a lot of instruments in a very small recording studio with exquisite, natural echo, where everything bleeds into each other’s space, and, voila!, you have yourself a unique sound.

Well, it’s not quite that easy, never was. The genius was always in his knowing what he wanted to hear from that compressed, creative environment, and working with an engineer, the late, great Larry Levine, who knew exactly how to translate what Phil wanted to hear into sound he could not just work with, but produce.

Still, there had to be talent – after all, you need something to work with, right? And Phil knew how to get the best out of the best, with the so-called “Wrecking Crew” – a reliable core of session musicians who would work with everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys to the Carpenters, churning out hit after hit in the mid-to-late ’60s – predominately featured on all his greatest recordings.

And then there were the singers. Just check out the videos of the Crystals singing their classic hit, “Da Doo Ron Ron” and the Ronettes doing “Be My Baby” in the middle of the above-mentioned video. Not only am I struck by how beautiful and sexy they look, but check out all the white folk in the audience diggin’ the sounds these black girls make! Considering this was the early ’60s, Phil was definitely a revolutionary in that regard. Sure, the Supremes and the Marvelettes had their own cool, detached thing going in Berry Gordy’s Motown Records, but the girl groups Phil brought out front to American teenagers were something else. They were not just black and talented, they were H-O-T hot, with Spector’s arrangements pushing the sensuality of their look and sound.

In addition to the above, some additional Spector triumphs for your listening pleasure:
* The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feelin”
* George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”
* The Ramones, “Rock And Roll High School”
* Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift To You” LP (universally seen as his greatest collective work)
* Ike & Tina Turner, “River Deep, Mountain High”

* …and, in my view, Phil’s absolute finest production, “Baby, I Love You”

I don’t know why Spector’s sound has had such an impact on me from a musical standpoint. I’m just glad to have grown up in an era where I could enjoy the music and, yes, that “wall of sound” he made so near and dear to my ears.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:11 | Comments (0)
February 22, 2010

My good blogger friend Rob provided some inside info on his yard work plans for this weekend and this year. Thought I’d show you mine…

skimming1

Because yardwork here at The Great White Shank hacienda falls under the dominion of landscaper extraordinaire Carmelo (at $30 a week, the best money I’ve ever spent!), I usually don’t get involved other than: a) this week, when the spring pruning will take place; b) fall cleanup (typically the third week in October after the heat breaks); and c) whenever the mesquite tree needs a trim (every three months, it seems!).

The only executive decision I made this year was to remove the Red Bird of Paradise bush I foolishly planted two years ago right beside the pool (immediately left of the fountain). Sure, it grows fast, is perfect for this climate, and produces lovely orange-red flowers, but it is also a messy plant that drops spent flowers and leaves (made up of a gazillion tiny micro-leaves) into the pool, hence the need every week to skim. Not good.

Shortly after this photo was taken, the Red Bird of Paradise was, er, eliminated, from the landscape.

We got some lovely rain last night, and the (supposedly) last storm of the El Nino season is supposed to bring us some more rain tomorrow. Always a good thing out here.

Pool temp: 56 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:20 | Comments (2)
February 21, 2010

Can’t think of anyone in recent memory who can argue the case for conservatism in these ‘progressive’ times more eloquently and down-to-earth as Glenn Beck did today at the close of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in Washington.

This video should be must viewing for anyone – Democrat or Republican – seeking elected office this year. Trust me, it will be one of the best – and most informative – hours you’ll spend this year.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:30 | Comments (0)
February 20, 2010

What does it say about PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem when he refuses to criticize Tiger Woods for selecting the Friday of the Accenture Match Play for his so-called “press conference”? I don’t care what excuse Tiger can muster, the timing was in very poor taste – he was sticking it to his former sponsor for dropping him, and Finchem should have called him out on it. But he never will, because he’s just a Woods toadie. There is such a thing as integrity, Mr. Finchem – your primary responsibility is to the Tour, not Tiger Woods.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. I think this is disgraceful. You’re the freakin’ President of the United States, for gawdsakes! If you want to meet with the Dalai Lama, meet him and treat him with respect, don’t treat him as if he’s some kind of whore being hushed out through the back door to avoid being seen by the press. Talk about no class.

I’m not a techie person, but I love listening to Kim Komando’s syndicated radio show on my way back from Mass every Saturday. Lots of good high-tech info there.

Is there anyone out there who think the President Obama and the Democrats ramming through healthcare reform makes any kind of sense? Polls show the majority of people outside the Beltway care more about job creation and reckless government spending, and the Democrats’ insistence upon continuing this charade shows incredible tone-deafness on their part. This is not a push for healthcare reform, it’s a political suicide pact.

…and if I were the GOP, I’d tell the Prez and his cronies to stick his “healthcare summit” up his you-know-what. And they may do just that.

I love checking into the Mt. Washington Weather Blog on Accuweather.com.

Is there anyone out there who could have imagined CNBC commentator Rick Santelli’s rant about Obamanomics one year ago today having the impact on the “Tea Party” movement it did?

A case of good graffiti?

I love reading about this kind of stuff. That’s what makes Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit blog a must-read each day.

——

Pool temp: 57 degrees

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

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