November 12, 2010

It got cold last night – 40 degrees! – and the pool temp crashed to an Arizona winter-esque 59 degrees. The air had a smoky scent from people with fireplaces and chimineas burning wood, and I wished I could have cozied up to our chiminea with some nice mesquite cut from our back tree crackling and popping while I nursed a Johnny Walker Red (one cube), but the patio is scraped and spackled for sanding and painting this weekend – it’s gonna look gorgeous. But it sure felt like November – perfect for this poem:

“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

Here’s some music I’ve always associated with the bleakness of November: the final movement of “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”, from Pink Floyd’s 1970 release Atom Heart Mother. My brother Mark and I used to practice my bass and his drums to this song over and over down in our cellar “studio” to learn the timing we wanted to achieve as the rhythm section in our band, Top Priority. Good times, such a long time ago…

Hard to believe the holiday season is now less than two weeks away.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:27 | Comments (0)
November 11, 2010

..with a hat tip to this little Beatles gem

One reason I always loved November in New England: ocean storms to get as excited about almost as much as Accuweather’s Joe Bastardi does.

With the economy the way it is all around you’d think a soon-to-be-deposed governor would have bigger fish to worry about than this.

Found this link to a YouTube video of that incredible hail storm we had here in Phoenix last month. Pretty incredible, and that’s exactly how it sounded and looked here in Gilbert.

I think Dick Morris is right about this. Watch for a huge battle against the labor unions in the next two years. Not just by Republicans seeking to curb the misuse of labor funds in support of Democratic candidates, but by historically “blue” states who simply have run out of money and can’t afford the public service labor unions who are bleeding them dry.

And finally, on this Armistice Day, check out this incredible footage from the BBC showing a brutalized France taken from an airship shortly after the end of hostilities. Amazing!

A happy Veterans Day to all who have served our country in war and in peace. Thank you all so much for your service.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:38 | Comments (0)
November 10, 2010

I had a post with a whole bunch of fairly interesting links, then hit the wrong button and lost my post. So all I’ll say for today is this: life is precious. Take a few minutes to think good thoughts about, and, if you’re so inclined, say a prayer fo,r someone you know who is in need. We all take so many things in our lives for granted – there’s nothing wrong or unusual about it, that’s just the way it is in this hectic world we live in – and most, if not all of us, have it far better than most of the people in the world today. A roof over our heads. Food to eat. Clean water to drink. Friends and relatives we know who love and care for us. Our health and well being. Full use and control over our bodily functions. None of these are anything to sneeze at. So let’s all take a deep breath and a minute or two to think how lucky we are to live where we are and when we have.

Now where the (bleep) did my links go??

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:20 | Comments (0)
November 9, 2010

A little mix of both this Tuesday. Boy, is the football season flying by fast, or what? I’m still sticking by my Steelers / Saints Super Bowl picks, but then again, I had the Rays and the Phillies in the World Series, too…

I’m actually surprised Wade Phillips llasted this long. Texans don’t suffer the Cowboys with the “loser” tag for long.

Great, so this is how the Obama White House acts as guests in a foreign country. What a bunch of jackasses…

Maybe the Patriots ought to have tried this play during yesterday’s thrashing by the Cleveland Browns. After beating both the Saints and the Pats, I don’t think anyone’s going to be lulled to sleep by the Browns the rest of this year.

Put me down as enthusiastically supporting Nancy Pelosi’s push to return as House Minority Leader. What a great country: you preside over the largest loss of House seats since the Great Depression, and your argument to keep your position is so you can “create jobs and save Obamacare”? I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up. But Nancy, rest assured you have The Great White Shank’s unflagging support in your quest. I hope calmer heads don’t prevail.

Michael Vick’s story may not be the stuff of Hallmark Channel movies, but you can’t deny the fact he’s playing great right now. And the Eagles look like geniuses taking a shot on him last year.

This is far too complex an issue than paint with a broad brush, but there’s little doubt that the welfare state brought on by Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” of the ’60s and expanded by Democrats and progressives since then have done African Americans far more harm than good. I’ve written about this before – when all you’re left with after a half-century is the wreckage of failed programs and empty promises is a race card played when anyone dares propose alternatives, that, my friends, is called failure with a capital “F”.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Falcons fans. Atlanta’s good, but December ain’t here yet, and they’re not good enough to make it to the Super Bowl this year.

Filed in: Golf & Sports,Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments (2)
November 8, 2010

Lots of outside work to do this weekend now that the heat has broken. Scraping old paint off the patio frame in preparation for painting, and a final cleaning of the pool filter prior to resetting the vacuum to run winter hours. In celebration of all that hard work, my lovely wife brought me a Sam Octoberfest in a chilled glass, and I took one final swim in the 66-degree water. It was a bracer, I’ll tell you that!

It’s been interesting checking out my previous posts to see how the pool season went this year. Christened the pool back on April 17 when the water was a pleasantly refreshing 72 degrees. On July 22, the water temperature hit 95, as high as it got this year (our all-time record high – at least what we know – was 98 degrees two years ago), and it toggled back and forth between 94 and 95 for two weeks until August 5, when it finally started downward ever-so-slowly. I didn’t get to use the pool as much this year as in the past because of my surgery and not wanting to disturb the surgical strips from my operation, but there were still some nice swims during the monsoon season.

That doesn’t mean the pool won’t be used anymore – even when it drops in the fifties I still like to sit by the pool and swish my feet around in the water, especially when there’s a bright moon out. I love to see the green and white reflections in the swirling water. Next April, it will be time to drain the pool and start anew the preparations for another Arizona summer. I wonder what life will be like then? Hopefully by that time we’ll have paid off all the house renovations that took place this year, and we can start preparing for the next round – the replacement of all the cheap windows the house was built with, with new energy-efficient ones.

But that’s a long time away, time to focus on paying the bills for this year and enjoying te holidays and another Arizona winter.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:49 | Comments (0)
November 6, 2010

att00009

I don’t know about you, but after this week with the elections and all, I’m feeling kinda fried, so I’m taking the blogging version of a cat nap.

Photo of “Andrew” courtesy of regular commenter Jana. Thanks, Jana – nice pic!

See y’all Tuesday!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:39 | Comments (2)
November 5, 2010

Turns out that our Labor Day weekend visit to meet the Georis brothers and get their autographs for my Endless Summer movie poster has opened the door for the final stop on The Great Incredible Treasure Hunt: a chance to meet Sandals lead guitarist John Blakeley and get his autograph.

(Before I continue, it seems hard to believe that it’s been only a little over three months since this whole idea of getting the autographs of Endless Summer surfer Mike Hynson, and Walter Georis, Gaston Georis, and John Blakeley of The Sandals [whose music provided much of the film’s score] was conjured up in my wacked-out imagination. July seems so long ago, and so much has happened since: my trip to India, my operation and recovery, the continued suburban renewal of our house, the midterm elections – it seems like everything around me has changed. But the experiences of traveling to San Diego to meet Mike Hynson at the surfing convention and that “Georis weekend” in Carmel have been so rewarding and memorable as to seem like a dream. I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the chance to dream big.)

I wasn’t sure the final connection to meet John Blakeley was going to happen. During our lovely chart in his winery’s tasting garden, Walter had mentioned that John had had some health issues so I really didn’t feel the time was right to press him further on it. However, after I posted the YouTube video for The Sandals’ “School’s Out” last week, I got an e-mail from Walter saying thanks, and I figured why not bring up “the Blakeley scenario” once more – I mean, what did I have to lose, right? And sure enough, I received in return the number to John’s recording studio in San Francisco.

It took all the courage I could muster to call and leave a message letting him know who I was and the quest I was on. Hard to believe, then, a few hours later my phone rings and who’s on the other end? None other than John Blakeley. Very nice guy, very down to earth, and passionate about talking music. When I told him I had included some cuts from his later work with The Sandals’ (“Silvertone” is a gem) and Ron Nagle (“Tan Mantis”) on our “Tropical Breezes” mp3 collection, he even offered up some suggestions of other artists I might find interesting. We talked for a good twenty minutes, and I was touched by his willingness to talk music with an absolute stranger. When I brought up the poster he said to give him a week’s notice when I’d be coming up and he’d be happy to make arrangements to meet and sign.

After hanging up the phone, I just shook my head in disbelief. Mike Hynson. Walter Georis. Gaston Georis. And now, John Blakeley. People I would have never dreamed of meeting in person, let alone talk to and share interests in surf culture, surf music, and music in general. And it once again reinforced just how fortunate I am, not only to have the ability to these people – giants in my own little world, really – but, more importantly, to have had the imagination and crazy courage to see this treasure hunt through.

And so if all goes according to plan and God’s willing, the week of the 15th I’ll have a chance to meet in person the lead guitarist on “Theme to The Endless Summer”, John Blakeley (he of the cool blue Fender and even cooler Fender Hawaiian shirt). It’ll be a dream come true and a fitting end to a treasure hunt for the ages.

Pool temp: 66 degrees

Filed in: Treasure Hunt by The Great White Shank at 00:51 | Comment (1)
November 4, 2010

freepers-2010midtermelectmap Although the GOP didn’t didn’t quite reach my prediction of 77 seats in the House (although there’s still a chance I could come within, say, ten or less) – there’s no question that the 2010 mid-terms will go down in history as the day the Obama march towards European-style socialism was stopped in its tracks as decisively as Hitler at Stalingrad, albeit without the carnage.

While on the surface one might argue that the Republicans could have done better – after all Harry Reid will still be Senate Majority Leader and Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer, and (I’m guessing) Patty Murray all lived to see another day, and hopefuls like Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Carly Fiorina under-performed in terms of expectations. But those in the know – on both sides of the political aisle – know that the tsunami that hit the Democrats on Tuesday night was truly historic in nature, both deep and destructive, with implications far beyond Washington D.C. when it comes to 2011 redistricting as a result of the 2010 census, and the far-different political landscape all the 2012 presidential candidates will face (my boldings):

Finally, look at the states with both Republican governors and legislatures. They now include key political battlegrounds such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wisconsin, plus Tennessee and Alabama which are catching up to most of their Southern neighbors in this regard (North Carolina, Mississippi, and Arkansas remain the outliers, the first two still having divided governments and the latter a fully Democratic one). In addition to crafting pivotal congressional-redistricting maps next year, these states are going to be laboratories for conservative governance in the months and years to come. Not coincidentally, they could also prove to be incubators for future Republican candidates for federal office.

One final observation: anyone tuning in to the election coverage last night could not have missed the fact that the Republicans who were winning were young, enthusiastic and fairly telegenic. If I’m looking for a party that looks and thinks this country’s future, I’ll take the likes of Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Kristi Noem over Harry Reid, Barney Frank, and Barbara Boxer anyday.

Thank you, President Obama, for not listening to The Great White Shank. Now go off on your $2 million a day India junket and give us all a break.

UPDATE: Silly me, I got the daily figure wrong for the Obama “Passage To India Tour” , it is $200 million a day, not $2 – hey, with unemployment expected to rise for October, the emperor still has to travel in style, right? Prediction: this will be the last straw for Dems sitting on the sidelines and wondering whether Hillary should run against him in 2012.

Pool temp: 66 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:58 | Comments (0)
November 3, 2010

It’s late, there are still plenty of races to be closed, but this much is true:

1. It is a truly historic victory for Republicans – in the end, my guess is they’ll end up with 62-66 seats, maybe 8 Senate seats. Not bad. And not that far away from my projection.

2. Barack Obama probably rues the fact that the Senate remains Democratic – after all, if it had gone Republican like the House has he could rail against a “do nothing” Congress a la Harry Truman.

3. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and possibly Illinois going “red” both in Hoyuse races and the governorship is going to make Barack Obama’s – or any Democrat that chooses to run against him, for that matter – job to win the White House in 2012 thatmuch harder. The electoral landscape has changed drastically from 2008, and it will be interesting to see what happens.

4. Massachusetts returning Barney Frank to Congress, and California voting washed-up moonbat Jerry Brown as governor shows you just how liberals think. Unbelievable.

5. Obamacare got destroyed tonight. Take a look at all the so-called “blue dog” Democrats who supported Obamacare – they got wiped out at the ballot box tonight.

6. I’m ready for the holidays, aren’t you?

Pool temp: 66 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:56 | Comments (0)
November 2, 2010

boat Finally, the day of decision: how big will the Obama repudiation wave be? Will it be a good enough wave to boogie board on? Big enough to warrant dragging your long board out? Or a freakin’ tsunami that leaves the entire political world coming up from the undertow gasping for breath? If my predictions from last Thursday hold, it could be a real landscape-changer politically. And note, if you will, the prognosticators now coming out the woodwork and following The Great White Shank’s lead – even to the point of a Democrat challenge to Obama in 2012.

Frequent commenter Jana needs to see this, as do all you cat lovers out there. Me, I always knew our long since departed Rascal and Sparkle would never even have considered such a thing, but Jana’s Andrew, I don’t know…

And not just Delta, the Atlanta airport I always try to avoid as much as possible.

In the snake world its eat or be eaten.

No matter what your political stripe might be, make your voice heard. And, especially in Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Washington state, remember to vote early and often – the Democrats can’t win any other way!

Pool temp: 66 degrees – we’re now dropping a degree a day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:24 | Comment (1)

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