February 19, 2010

beastie_boys When it comes to rabbits, the good old days were not that long ago. There was Marble, the king of the house and all rabbits, who was both soul mate of Tracey and tormenter of our cats, and Pepper and Marble Junior, who loved hanging together in their play area.

And that was it.

Somewhere along the way, things went a little awry. First Pepper passed on, followed by Marble a year later. In the meantime, She’s A Little Half Pint and The Big Nipper came aboard, but then TBN passed on, only to be replaced by Cosmo shortly thereafter. Then Peanut (a.k.a. “That Little Bitch”) was brought in as a stray, but then a few months after that Junior passed on, replaced with the combo of Ginger and Geronimo.

So we had (in order of appearance) Half Pint, Cosmo, Peanut, Ginger, and Geronimo. Five rabbits spread across two rooms (Peanut has our bedroom, everyone else has the office). And we could deal with that.

Last fall, when I rescued my sister-in-law Tammy from the dregs of St. Petersburg, she came with a package deal – her two rabbits “Floppy” and “Cookie”, two male rabbits from the same litter (Floppy’s the black and white one). I thought they were stupid names for rabbits, but hey, what do I know?

Anyways, when Tam came here, we set her and F & C up in our spare bedroom, and we soon came to know why she called them affectionately, “The Beastie Boys”. Not only do these two rabbits have the highest metabolisms I’ve ever seen in any rabbit – they eat, chase each other around, and basically raise hell continuously – but they spend their days destroying the grass mats I’ve put down and bang their heads against the fence we’ve placed at the door to keep them segregated from the rest of the household!

And for now, since Tam is still in residential housing following her meltdown last fall, they’re ours, at least for the time being.

Seven rabbits, one 1,700 sq. foot house. You should see our grocery bill!

Anyway, everyone’s been asking for a picture of Tam’s rabbits, so here they are: “The Beastie Boys”! I’m just amazed I was able to catch them relaxing just long enough to snap a picture.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:53 | Comment (1)
February 18, 2010

Seems like Christmas just left us, and here it is, the start of Lent. This year, Lent has a bit of a different dynamic for me, as I know that on the other end, once we get to Easter and Eastertide, I’ll be just weeks away from being received into the Roman Catholic faith. That’s a pretty humbling, yet exciting thing to ponder.

This year, as I think I did last year, I plan on reading Robin Griffith-Jones’ wonderful The Four Witnesses. If you ever thought theology was boring, I’d highly recommend Griffith-Jones’ book – his is not only an accessible read, but his take on the four Gospels is historically genuine, thought-provoking, and, as someone who has read a lot of theology in my time, unique in its breadth and depth.

But that’s really the only thing this Lent and last year’s have in common. While my road to Rome has not been without its share of stumbles, I feel more in tune with my own spiritual self and state of mind. I’ve finally come to accept the fact that I’ll always be a drifter with a sense of displacement, and that goes for my spiritual being as well. I know no one church or faith is perfect and the answer to everything that ails one mentally and spiritually. Nevertheless, my commitment to Roman Catholicism feels right in my soul, and seems where I have been heading all along, even when I didn’t realize it.

My prayer is for a blessed and spiritually-enriching Lent to you all.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 00:18 | Comments (2)
February 17, 2010

Crazy work week doing forecasts and budgets, glad to have a night away from the laptop. Bunch of stuff happening out there:

Look, I don’t know how well – or even if – President Obama’s stimulus package that went into law last year on this date has made that much of a difference. I doubt not even his economic team does. So the Prez does himself an incredible disservice when, as he did today, he uses ridiculous platitudes like, “There has never been a program of this scale, moved at this speed, that has been enacted as effectively and as transparently as the recovery act.” The fact he can say such things with a straight face diminshes both and his Presidency. Look, people know the difference between the usual political hyperbole and flat-out bullshit. And when it comes to the latter, he’s off the charts.

So Tiger Woods is going to come out of hiding this Friday, huh? To read a statement without taking questions. I don’t know, I don’t see what would be wrong with inviting a few carefully-chosen golf writers to ask him tough questions in a respectful forum on, say, the Golf Channel or ESPN, where he has a chance to speak honestly and at length. Doing something like the wonderful “Studio 42 With Bob Costas” on the MLB Network, I think, would do him a world of good. By avoiding questions, all that’s going to do is delay the zoo for another day. And that day will come, believe me…

Can we all agree now that the whole man-made global warming thing was nothing more than a hoax of monumental proportions propagated by a bunch of self-serving zealots interested not in science, but in pushing their own anti-capitalist, anti-free market agenda, knowing it would be swallowed wholeheartedly by the tax-and-spend liberal elites of the world. Mark my words: today it’s just a trickle of corporations and financiers and states backing away from their prior commitments; soon it will be a tidal wave, leaving only the most in-denial zealots who simply can’t bring themselves to believe their lives and their cause was nothing more than a flimsy house of cards built on rank dishonesty, corruption, and lies. Science, indeed.

Pool temp: 56 degrees

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:11 | Comments Off on Catching Up On Stuff
February 14, 2010

It may not feel like it up in my old New England haunts, but I can tell you Spring is coming.


I forget the name of this desert bush, but it’s one of my favorites with its sea green-colored lacy branches and cheerful yellow flowers just getting ready to come into bloom. While these aren’t the only flowers in our yard – our bougainvillea never stopped blooming this winter – it is typically the first bush with new flowers.

BTW, that’s a “geeky beak” behind the bush. We have several of them around the back. Not only are they colorful, but they add a whimsical touch to our landscape. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on them.

The red yuccas (in foreground) are also already starting – shortly they’ll bloom in yellow flowers as well, then make a mess of the pool deck. If we get a wind storm I’ll be skimming them out of the pool for days!

So take heart, everyone – spring truly is on the way!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:15 | Comments Off on A Touch Of Spring
February 13, 2010

Today was one of those days that typlify why people winter in Arizona. Soft warm breezes, bright blue skies, a hot sun, and temps in the low ’70s. I doubt in this El Nino year we’re done with the rain – another round of storms would be fantastic – but after the cool and cloudy, sometimes rainy, conditions we’ve had since December, this was a nice change.

If one ever needed evidence of just how tough things are out there with the economy, just talk to anyone who works in the service industry. Was talking yesterday with the guy we have come once a year to feed our queen palms, and hearing the challenges he and those like him are facing these days was pretty sobering. Like most, if not all of his customers being upside down on their houses, some paying mortgages that nowhere near reflect the current value of their houses, others just choosing to walk away and deal with all the ramifications later.

Seems he’s friends with a bigwig at the Fry’s supermarket chain, and his friend was telling him that in some of their stores 20% of the customers are paying with food stamps. Amazing.

His view – and I’m inclined to agree with him on this – is that the extension of unemployment benefits seems to be doing more harm than good. Sure, it keeps people who’ve been out of work for a very long time able to put food on the table, but his view is that people get too accustomed to that government check, so they don’t feel any urgent need to go out and find a job or perhaps start a new business. He might be right there.

The politicians in Washington can talk all they want about a “jobs bill” and providing tax credits to business who hire people, but that’s obviously the idea of people who have never run a business in their lives. The best way to get people employed is to createa demand for goods and services. Want to put $15 or $80 billion to good use? How about reducing or eliminating payroll taxes, or better yet, how about a tax holiday this year? I guarantee you Tracey and I could put the $8K we’re probably going to pay Uncle Sam on April 15 to better use around here than sending it to the black hole called Washington. Oh well…

Yesterday was “Truck Day” at Fenway Park, meaning the truck carrying all the Red Sox equipment is somewhere near the Carolinas by now, heading towards Fort Myers, where the Sox start spring training next week. Between that, and the fact my dad always says that when you get to February winter’s over, how can spring not be far behind? Our first desert bushes that produce flowers in the spring have started to bud, maybe I’ll get a picture for y’all tomorrow.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:10 | Comments Off on Weekending
February 12, 2010

The 10 Best Caddy Replies:

# 10 — Golfer: “Think I’m going to drown myself in the lake.” Caddy: “Think you can keep your head down that long?”
# 9 — Golfer: “I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.” Caddy: “Try heaven, you’ve already moved most of the earth.”
# 8 — Golfer: “Do you think my game is improving?” Caddy: “Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now.”
# 7 — Golfer: “Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?” Caddy: “Eventually.”
# 6 — Golfer: “You’ve got to be the worst caddy in the world.” Caddy: “I don’t think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence.”
# 5 — Golfer: “Please stop checking your watch all the time. It’s too much of A distraction.” Caddy: “It’s not a watch – it’s a compass.”
# 4 — Golfer: “How do you like my game?” Caddy: “Very good sir, but personally, I prefer golf.”
# 3 — Golfer: “Do you think it’s a sin to play on Sunday?” Caddy: “The way you play, sir, it’s a sin on any day.”
# 2 — Golfer: “This is the worst course I’ve ever played on.” Caddy: “This isn’t the golf course. We left that an hour ago.”
# 1 — Best Caddy Comment Golfer: “That can’t be my ball, it’s too old.” Caddy: “It’s been a long time since we teed off, sir.”

Tee Shot

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

“What is your sin, my son?” the priest asks back.

“Well,” the man starts, “I used some horrible language this week and feel absolutely terrible.”

“When did you use this awful language?” asks the priest.

“I was golfing and hit an incredible drive that looked like it was going to go over 250 yards, but it struck a phone line that was hanging over the fairway and fell straight down to the ground after going 100 feet.

“Is that when you swore?”

“No, Father,” says the man. “After that, a squirrel ran out of the bushes and grabbed my ball in his mouth and began to run away.”

“Is THAT when you swore?” asks the Father again.

“Well, no.” says the man. “You see, as the squirrel was running, an eagle came down out of the sky, grabbed the squirrel in his talons and began to fly away!”

“Is THAT when you swore?” asks the amazed Priest.

“No, not yet,” the man replies. “As the eagle carried the squirrel away in his claws, it flew towards the green. And as it passed over a bit of forest near the green, the squirrel dropped my ball.”

“Did you swear THEN?” asks the now impatient Priest.

“No, because as the ball fell it struck a tree, bounced through some bushes, careened off a big rock, and rolled through a sandtrap onto the green and stopped within six inches of the hole.”

The Priest sighs, “You missed the fucking putt, didn’t you?”


Pool temp: 55 degrees

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:27 | Comments Off on Golf Wisdom
February 10, 2010

Courtesy of an e-mail from my folks, this is pretty good:

In My Hand I Hold A Ball,
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.
Oh How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.

By Its Size I Could Not Guess,
Or The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.
But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I’ve Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.

My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same,
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.
It Rules My Mind For Hours On End,
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.

It Has Made Me Curse And Cry,
And Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises A Thing Called Par,
Even If I Can Hit It Straight And Far.

To Master Such A Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires The Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly As It Chooses.

It Hooks And Slices, Dribbles And Dies,
And Even Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have A Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.

With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.

It’s Made Me Whimper Like A Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows … I’ll Be Back Tomorrow.

It sure don’t look like it back at Goodboys Nation headquarters…

snow1 snow2

…but this weekend here in the Southwest jurisdiction of the ‘Nation we’re looking at a hint of spring, with temps in the low ’70s. People don’t line in Arizona for the summers.

But chins up, fellow Goodboys – planning is already underway for GB20, and scenes just like this…

dialingin puttingclinic

…will be here before you know it.

(Snow pictures courtesy of National Review Online’s Corner Blog)

Pool temp: 54 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 17:36 | Comments Off on Golf Poem
February 9, 2010

lasvegassign Thinking out loud after a fun and frenzied weekend in “Sin City”:

Las Vegas is best experienced in a max of a 3-day stay. It’s so otherworldly and timeless (and, yes, outrageously expensive, at least if you want to live it up like a Goodboy) that by the end of your third day you need to leave as badly as you looked forward to getting there in the first place.

…and as soon as you’re home you’re already thinking about how and when you can go back.

You can’t beat the steak and eggs at the Peppermill for late-night dining fare.

…And the waitresses at their renowned Fireside Lounge are still jaw-dropping beautiful in those long black cocktail gowns.

A brief stop at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville was the same pleasurable experience it has always been. Sad to see, however, that they’ve dropped the “Bubba’s Big Bamboo” (”A big, stiff drink. Banana Rum, Myers’s Dark Rum, Nassau Royale and Triple Sec shaken with orange juice and coconut cream”) from the drink menu. When I bemoaned that fact to Chris the bartender, he replied sadly, “that seems to happen to all the good drinks”.

Our experience staying at the Wynn was top-notch. Many businesses could take a lesson from the friendliness, hospitality, and the willingness to please and go the distance for their guests that everyone there displayed.

…I think I still like The Mirage’s Spa and Salon better, however.

Glad I channeled the inner Rob within me and resisted the idea of dropping money on the Colts. I predicted a 31-14 win by the Colts and figured Peyton Manning would pick apart the Saints defense, but I never felt strong enough about that prospect to lay $ down on it.

Watched the game in The Mirage’s Revolution Lounge, but the real show of the day was Angela the bartender. Adorable beyond belief (let’s leave it at that!), friendly, down to earth, and extremely good at what she does. Whoever hired that girl has a good eye for talent.

President Obama made a big mistake doing that interview with Katie Couric during the Super Bowl pre-game. Let’s leave alone the fact that no day seems to go by when he’s not giving another lecture speech or sitting for a puff-piece interview, can’t the guy take a day off and just allow the common folk to enjoy their football?

…I can tell you from sitting at The Mirage’s Kokomo’s Bar that people were not amused. Or interested. In fact, at one point the crowd got hostile and started yelling at the bartenders to change the channel; then, when some some woman sitting at the bar tried to defend the Prez, the crowd shouted her down.

Watching that interview I could only think of one thing: whatever Couric is getting paid, it’s way too much. She may be perky, photogenic, and ambitious, but she’s just another talking head who’s clearly as dumb as a stone.

Let’s see, Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and now the Indianapolis Colts. A big winner in 2008, President Obama is quickly garnering a reputation in 2010 for backing losers.

Lasting memories of this weekend: First, talking to a girl named Olga at a not-to-be-revealed location. Now, I’m a sucker for Russian accents, especially when delivered by a lovely and captivating young blonde. We’re sorta running out of conversation, so I asked her to keep talking:

Olga: What should I say?

Me: I dunno, how about reciting “War And Peace”?

Olga: “War and Peace”, what’s that?

Me: What kind of a Russian are you, anyways?

Second, it’s late Sunday night and I’m sitting at the B Bar at the Wynn, next to a bunch of loud Mexicans with rolls of $100 bills. The guy next to me orders a double Grey Goose on the rocks:

Bartender: That will be $30.

Hombre: $30! That’s expletive deleted!

Bartender: You ordered a double Grey Goose, right?

Hombre: But it’s all in one glass!

Ahhh… Vegas. It never gets old, and I can’t wait to go back.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:46 | Comment (1)
February 5, 2010

Regardless of what the President says, I’m heading to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun, relaxation, and, yes, Mr. President, spending money. I’ll be back Monday night, so blogging may be sparse between now and then, In the meanwhile, let me hand things over to The King. I’m the one in back banging on the bongos.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I have a feeling I will…

Pool temp: 54 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:26 | Comments Off on Viva Las Vegas
February 4, 2010

This promises to be quite the election season. Lots on the line, accusations flyng back and forth, lots of talking heads with inflated egos on the cable networks with nary a clue as to what they’re talking about.

But that’s the fun of it, right?

Lots of yakking out there about this wild and crazy web ad by former Hewlitt-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is running in the Republican primary for the right to oppose Babs “call me Senator” Boxer for her Senate seat. People simply don’t know what to make of it. Is it genius? Is it beyond ridiculous? You be the judge.

Then you have this Republican National Committee ad against Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois state treasurer who won last night’s Democratic primary for the Senate seat once occupied by Barack Obama (now kept warm by Roland Burris). Giannoulias will hook up against moderate Republican Mark Kirk in the fall.

What do these ads tell us?

First of all, even the most traditionally left-leaning prognosticators tell us that, unless some miraculous economic recovery takes place between now and November, this promises to be a gruesome year – perhaps historically so – for Democrats in Washington. Anti-incumbency fever is growing among Independents and conservatives, and Barack Obama nevertheless seems intent on leading his party over the cliff.

Second all, because of the above – especially with Scott Brown’s incredible upset in the Massachusetts Senate race for Ted Kennedy’s old seat – no Democrat seat appears safely locked down this year, so Republicans across the land are making commitments to fiercely contest seats that otherwise might be conceded to incumbent Democrats.

Taken together, all of this means more contested races, more money, and more political ads than ever before. So, how to cut through all the noise and get your message heard? It’s simple. Ads just like the above, ads that are creative and humorous, the kind that will generate a lot of “buzz” and get a lot of play on the internet. Heck, I almost expect at least one candidate for elected office to concoct a stunner based on the wildly-shared “Hitler finds out” videos I mentioned the other day.


Want further evidence that you don’t necessarily need any common sense or intelligence to be a talking head on the cable networks? Discussing the above-mentioned RNC ad linking Illinois’ state treasurer with loans made to some pretty unsavory characters, one of MSNBC’s daytime anchors, Dylan Ratigan, commented as follows:

Dirty politics reared its ugly head in Illinois. Hours after the state treasurer, Alexei Giannoullias, won the Democratic Senate primary, that is an Italian name, “Giannoullias,” excuse me. Republicans are comparing Giannoullias, an Italian name, to a character from “The Sopranos.”

Now I’m no genius, but even I could tell you Giannoullias is no Italian name. But like NRO’s Jim Geraghty notes, “all those swarthy Mediterranean types look the same from the MSNBC anchor desk”. Heh.

It’s gonna be a long, long election year….

Pool temp: 54 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:35 | Comments Off on Trying To Reason With Election Season


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