October 31, 2011


Rather than me trying to spout something totally useless I’ll let Goodboy Ron “Cubby” Myerow, with the help of Elizabeth Montgomery, convey the sentiments of the season. And what would Halloween be without a poem?

Witches flying past on broomsticks,
Black cats leaping here and there,
White-robed spooks on every corner,
Mournful moaning in the air,

Goblins peering out of windows,
Spirit-things that rap and run-
But don’t be scared-it’s just October,
Having one last hour of fun!

Hat tip: The HolidaySpot.com

Thanks Cubby!

Happy Halloween from all the Goodboys and Goodboys Nation weblog!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:07 | Comments (2)
October 30, 2011

Read in some magazine the other day while at the doctor’s office how moonshine has burst into pop culture big-time. The Rural Blog has more about this pop-culture phenomenon – it’s a couple of years old, but since that time moonshining has only become more popular. One of my nieces went to a moonshine festival last weekend; guess that makes her a ‘hipster kid’.

…and how about the resurrection of George Washington’s rye whiskey operation? Another beverage I won’t touch, but the article sure makes it sound facinating.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:13 | Comments (2)
October 29, 2011

Fellow Goodboy Steve “Killer” Kowalski is polling the Goodboys for a final “farewell to golf” season outing next weekend. (I can’t make it, as I’ll be attending a “Occupy Phoenix” rally protesting corporate greed and calling for an end to capitalism.)

Quick question: why on earth should I work as hard as I do when all around me people are sucking off the taxpayers and lounging around on their asses getting a fat paycheck every month?

But I digress.

The St. Louis Cardinals are the winners of the 2011 World Series, once more illustrating how much folly the March and April predictions by so-called “experts” are. Jeesh, I was sure the Phillies and the Red Sox would be playing for it all! One of these days, general managers will learn that it isn’t so much the salaries or the talent they purchase, it’s the mix and who gets hot at the right time. As the Globe’s Peter Abraham notes:

The Cardinals were 90-72 — the same record as the Red Sox, by the way — and won with a rotation of Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse, Edwin Jackson and Jake Westbrook. Sometimes it’s not the best team, it’s the team that plays the best.

‘Nuff said there. I was rooting for the Rangers, but congrats to the Cardinals who played every game like it was their last. But mark my words, the Rangers will be back in the World Series next year, and they’ll have the Red Sox’ Jonathan Papelbon as their closer. I think Texas has a great chance to win it all next year.

So here I am reduced to watching bizarre Herman Cain commercials and something called the CIMB Malaysia Classic on Golf Channel. Madre di Dios! January and the start of a new golf season can’t come soon enough…

That’s a bad storm about to hit the Northeast on Saturday. You really don’t want to see that devastating combination of heavy snow and leaf-bound trees. There are hundreds of people about to be without power for a lot of days. I still remember the Halloween “Perfect” Storm of 1991; up in the northern climes you can definitely get some bad storms this time of year. I wish I was there to experience it all…

…but I’m not. So today it’ll be in the ’80s and we’ll have our evening cocktails on the patio in shirt sleeves and pajamas and contemplating what kind of lighting we need to add to the back yard this “Arizona winter” to make it more welcoming beyond the patio / tiki bar area. I guess we’ll manage somehow…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:37 | Comments (4)
October 28, 2011

And just like that, we’ve gone from fall (this year you can see it lasted a total of three weeks, from the 4th through the 25th, when we dropped from consistent 100+ temps to the ’90s) into that delight known as “Arizona winter” here in the Valley of the Sun. Folks ’round here know Arizona winter as that period of time where the temps stay well below 90, by and large, between now and the middle of April.

Arizona winter is the reverse of New England winter – just when people are buttoning up and preparing for spending the next several months primarily indoors, here in the Valley of the Sun, people are now getting of their cocoons after staying inside for the better part of five months to recreate. Windows and doors can finally be left open at night, the golf courses will be filled on weekends (and priced for it!), restaurants everywhere have their patio seating open and drag the portable heaters out whenever it gets chilly. For the next seven months, people know once again why they came to live here in the first place.

This is what all the snowbirds west of the Mississippi have been waiting for. Out here, there are three kinds of snowbirds, two of which are welcome, one not so much. You have the folks from the Great Plains, the Dakotas, the Great Basin, and the upper Midwest who show up by plane, car, and RV, to un-shutter houses and fill up the RV parks from Tucson to Yuma to join all the other regulars. In this economy, you can bet the stores, churches, and restaurants are all glad to have them back.

You have birds from all kinds of places north of here stopping by on their migrations to Mexico, and Central and South America to catch their collective breaths and say hi. Last Sunday, I saw a gray cardinal-like bird I’ve never seen before; I’m guessing he was just passing through.

Finally, and not so welcome, are the homeless who share the snowbirds’ desire to escape the long hard winters in exchange for the warmer climes. They drive, hitch-hike, and hop trains (yes, just like in the old days) to exchange one set of shelters and freeway under-passes for another. Driving around, you can really tell the increase in the number of pan-handlers you see at then end of off-ramps begging for money come this time of year. There are even fights between the full-time resident homeless and the winterized versions as the open spaces become more crowded. Sad to say, but true. I’m not complaining or being heartless, I’m just pointing it out.

Not much will change here for us though – we use our back patio all year round. It’s just nice to have a bit of a chill in the air while your sipping a cocktail or listening to music. Welcome back, Arizona winter – it was a long, hot, dusty summer, and we’re all glad to have you around.

Say, that was some kind of a Game 6 at the World Series, wasn’t it? The drama was just as good, if not better, than other great Game 6s in World Series lore, like 1975 and 1986. No matter which way Game 7 ends, this series is likely to go down as one of the greats in baseball post-season history.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:18 | Comment (1)
October 27, 2011

I’m patio blogging tonight, as the tail end of that weather system that brought a snowstorm to Denver (and perhaps the season’s first snow to the East Coast and back home in New England) brought a tiny thunderstorm and ten minutes of heavy rain to us here in Gilbert, but, better yet, a cool and windy night. The palm trees are rustling away, the wind chimes are a’tinklin, and you can breathe deep the clean air under happy pineapple lights.

I’ll bet if you ask most people there are few nature sounds more popular than wind in the trees. Doesn’t matter what kind of wind – or what kind of tree(s), for that matter – it’s the whole sense of God’s creation in movement all around you that invokes a deep appreeciation for nature and our natural surroundings.

I love the sound of wind in the trees; probably next to distant thunder on a still, muggy summer afternoon and the sound of the ocean rushing to the shore, the sound of wind blowing conjures a sense of calm and tranquility that’s hard to match. I remember as a child during Hurricane Donna the wind whistling and moaning loudly through cracks in the window panes. Or being on a cruise ship deck late at night and the hearing the frantic sound of the ship’s flags or runners flapping in the wind. There are rounds of golf I find decidedly forgettable, but I can remember playing certain golf courses up in New Hampshire and pausing to hear the wind stirring the tall surrounding pines with that lovely wsoft whooshing sound. Or, in the dead of winter, a cold wind rustling dry oak leaves and cauing a chill to run down your spine. Or, more pleasantly, sitting outside on our hotel patio in Bermuda listing to the palm trees and pines rustle while thousands upon thousands of frogs created a peeping backdrop symphony.

Of course, not every wind sound creates a pleasant feeling – for example, the sound of sleet pelting your windows when you know you have to get up for work in just a few hours. Or the sound of trees cracking of breaking in a hurricane or a heavy wet snowfall. Fortunately, those don’t happen enough to jade the pleasures that the sound of a nice wind in trees bring on a breezy early Autumn Arizona evening bring.

Tonight is just a nice break from the incessant run of dead calm, warm nights we’ve had – amazingly, there’s not even the hint of a scent of dust in the air tonight. Now that’s something worth celebrating!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:34 | Comments (5)
October 26, 2011

I don’t consider a bright, sunny cloudless day weather. I’m sorry, I just don’t. Maybe other people do, but The Great White Shank is decidedly “not other people”. I’m a human being. I have feelings. I have desires. I have likes and dislikes. More than anything else, I have humanity. And here in the Valley of the Sun I get enough bright sunny days without clouds to choke a horse, thank you.

Unfortunately, that’s the way Septembers, Octobers, and Novembers typically are around here. It’s the kind of weather pattern that when you’re greeting someone in a parking lot one or the other will say, “look at that cloud up there!” as a real topic of conversation. You see, I think most people like to talk about the weather – unlike politics or religion, which can inevitably lead to trouble. Like, for example, this one:

An African-American, a Muslim, and an illegal alien walk into a bar and order a drink. The bartender looks up and asks, “What’ll you have, Mr. President?”

What a howl. Thanks to my brother Dave for that one.

But I digress. Where was I?

Oh yeah, that people like to talk about the weather. But you gotta have weather to talk about. You can’t just say, “hot lately, huh?” – for gawdsakes it’s been hot for the past five months. That line wouldn’t even get you far with the hottest, drunkest chick in the trendiest Scottsdale watering hole.

Which is why yesterday and today were such a treat. I dunno, some weather system that not even Accuweather’s Ken Clark mentioned much about slowly skidded across the state, bringing us clouds yesterday and partly cloudy and – gasp! – slightly humid conditions today. Towards the end of the day the clouds built up enough that I though I actually heard a low rumble of thunder to the north while I was finishing off my turkey thighs (marinated then baked in white wine, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, lemon juice, rosemary, and some Bell’s seasoning) on the grill. Sure enough, I walked out front in the gathering darkness to actually see a few nice orange-y flashes of lightning to the north. Unfortunately, no thunder; it was pretty far away.

Still, just having something to see did my spirits a world of good, as did the soft breezes that rustled the palm trees for the next couple of hours as I sat on the patio.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:21 | Comments (6)
October 25, 2011

Having a hard time seeing why this should be such a problem. Can’t you just napalm the stuff so it disintegrates?

Being from Massachusetts I’ve followed Jill Stein’s political career with interest and she’s no wallflower. Could she create problems for Obama and the Democrats in 2012? Personally, I think on the Progressive Left there’s currently a huge gap in enthusiasm, and the Green Party could make some noise in 2012. But it’s all about getting on the ballots, and Dems in blue states are not going to sit idly by and make it easy for upstart third parties that could upset the apple cart. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

Rob over at CrabAppleLane blog will find this amusing. I especially like #23; always wondered why in sci-fi flicks subtitles aren’t used more. After all, making up your alien language would be a lot of fun.

OK, I’ll admit it. After watching this several times I don’t get the new Herman Cain video that has the blogsphere all a-twitter.

…and speaking of Twitter, you’d think the White House would know better than to launch a new twitter campaign that asks people to fill in the blanks. I mean, did they really think only Obama supporters would respond?

It’s been an exciting World Series to watch thus far – the Rangers and the Cardinals have made for some really great post-season baseball viewing. It’s just a damned shame that the games start and end so late. Sure, it’s all about the money, but you’d think Major League Baseball would think where its next generation of viewers is going to come from.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:15 | Comments (3)
October 24, 2011

Tonight I’ve lit my weekly candle for the brother of my brother Mark’s widow, who is in the last stages of his battle against cancer. He’s under hospice care now, and life must be moving very rapidly for him right now. May the angels of God’s mercy, comfort and strength surround him in his final hours and open the door to His eternal light and love.

Funny as it seems, I think about death often – I always have, as long as I can remember – but not in any kind of morbid way. I don’t seek it, would rather it took its time coming to me. I’m well aware that the things I do for my own pleasure and entertainment – for example, designing a colorful, Caribbean-style patio – are for my own temporal enjoyment in this life. Even while constructing this passion of pleasure I know at some point in time there will be others who will live in this house long after me and make this house and configure its surroundings into their own happy hacienda. Which is OK by me – everyone ought to have their own place and time in the sun. There have been those far better than me who have come and gone with nothing more than blip on the grand scheme of human existence, and I’m good with that. And so on and so on and so on…

Some people feel the need of having children to maintain their legacy. I’ve never felt that and cared about that. After all, just because you father children is no guarantee your legacy will continue long after you’re gone or will do so in a way that brings your seed honor. Me, I came into the world without the human race even ushering but a sigh; if the same happens when my time comes that’s OK by me. I’ve had a great life, have had the absolute best of parents and family, traveled to places I never would have thought possible, and immersed myself in music from people and places I never would have even thought possible, so all is good.

I think the point I’m making here is that we’re all here for but the equivalent of a sigh, at least in terms of human existence. We’ve all touched the lives of untold people for better or for worse (the “It’s A Wonderful Life” scenario, I call it) and hopefully tried to do the best we could under the circumstances we’ve been born into. I have no doubt that my own life has been no better or no worse than some tribal dude in Papua New Guinea who has lived his or her own life given the cultural esthetics, boundaries, and limitations they were born into. I know I’ve fallen hopelessly short in God’s eyes as to my innate abilities and what I’ve given to the humankind I’ve been surrounded with during my own lifetime, but I think most people feel the same way. At any rate, I have faith in a merciful God that knows full well about these kinds of things and don’t think I’m a whole lot better or worse then millions upon millions of those who will have come before me or after me.

I’m not sure what this post is really about. I feel for my sister-in-law’s brother; when time starts moving that fast before your very eyes there’s not a whole lot you can do except to pray. But even that’s OK, I know God knows our desires and needs far more than we do ourselves. We who are fortunate to see life passing before us in a more languid fashion should appreciate it for what it is, recognizing that most surely our time will come as well.

Martin Scorcese’s recent film about George Harrison touched me deeply, for Harrison was someone with both feet firmly entrenched upon the temporal and the eternal. He loved the things the world offered him in terms of fame and wealth and all that went along with it, but he also had the other firmly planted in the eternal. He was keenly aware of the need to prepare his soul for the moment of death so that when eternity beckoned he could have all his ducks in order. Me, I’m the same way. I love being alive and all the gifts my not-so-incredible talents and accomplishments have allowed me to experience in this world, but there’s a part of me that wishes I were some monastic at West Park whose only calling was to pray for this world, pure and simple.

Ahh, enough about this kind of stuff. I’m not sure how to end this post. Think I’ll pour myself a chilled glass (or two) of Pinot Grigio and sit under happy pineapple lights on the patio to get ready for another long, hard work week. Remembering, of course, that having the family and friends (both Goodboys and non-Goodboys) I’ve been graced with I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:29 | Comments Off on Mortality
October 23, 2011

Thanks to John Lennon for the post title.

So the drama over Red Sox GM Theo Epstein’s departure to take over the Chicago Cubs is now over, with negotiations over which second-rate minor-leaguer(s) the Sox will get as compensation between Epstein and new Sox GM Ben Cherrington all that’s left to finalize the deal. I do think it’s a good thing that both manager Terry Francona and Epstein are gone, as the whole sad and depressing saga of what became the 2011 Red Sox was, to a certain extent, the by-product of Francona’s and Epstein’s doing. After all, it was Francona’s players who came out of Spring Training playing the kind of listless and uninspired baseball that would be their September trademark, and it was Epstein whose signings of pitchers John Lackey and Bobby Jenks, and outfielder Carl Crawford made for an unbalanced, kind of strange roster of supposed riches, proving that you indeed can have too much of a good thing.

With both now departed, the Sox can now embark on wiping the slate clean and bringing in people who want to play good ball and expect, hopefully demand, their players do the same. As the Globe’s Peter Abraham notes, Cherrington will hardly be starting from scratch; he is, after all, inheriting a team that won 90 games this year. But as the 2011 edition of the team proved, it’s the intangibles that count, and finding the right mix of managers, coaches, and players to achieve the potential of the talent they’ve gathered will be key. Some have put forth their ideas, here are a few thing I would do immediately:

1. Hire the right manager. Tampa Bay’s bench coach Dave Martinez might be a good fit – Crawford might welcome Martinez as a familiar face – but former Sox catcher and Royals manager Tony Pena might be a good fit as well.

2. Settle on the top of the lineup right away. 1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 2. LF Crawford 3. 2B Dustin Pedroia 4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez need to be at the very top and know that’s where they’ll be hitting all season.

3. Do whatever it takes to send John Lackey somewhere, anywhere. Still can’t figure out what Epstein was thinking there. Lackey is bad news.

4. Offer David “Big Papi” Ortiz a one-year, $12M deal, take it or leave it. Would love to have him back and can’t see anyone else taking that kind of risk on an aging slugger for that much dinero, but we need to know where his allegiances stand. If he’s back, slot him in the five-spot behind Gonzalez.

5. Expect the manager and GM to compile a lot of travel miles this winter. Visit all the players, make sure they know they’re expected to report in February at Fort Myers in shape and ready to kick some ass. If they’re not, get them outta here.

6. Get younger, leaner, and meaner. This is an aging team that has broken down to some degree three years in a row. Right field, third base, and shortstop are good places to start. Some people like SS Marco Scutaro, I never have. Lots of people like Kevin Youkilis, I think it’s time to shop him around.

7. Go into Spring Training with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway as your platoon. Thank Jason Varitek for his years of service, but it’s time to move on.

8. Do whatever it takes to re-sign closer Jonathan Papelbon and keep Daniel Bard as your reliable set-up man.

Start there, and maybe, just maybe you’ll build a team that will not only continue to win, but do so playing the kind of fundamental baseball that the fans will appreciate. The 2011 team was not a likeable team by any stretch of the imagination. If the Sox are once again going to capture the hearts of New Englanders everywhere, a certain amount of mea culpas followed by a team playing solid baseball with a commitment to excel will go a long way towards erasing the stench of the 2011 fiasco.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 00:14 | Comments Off on (Just Like) Starting Over
October 22, 2011

If you want to find true spookiness during this spookiest of seasons, check out these latest quotes from prominent Democrats recently seen haunting the halls and walls of the White House and Congress. First, President Barack Obama (my italics):

“I guarantee it’s going to be a close election [in 2012] because the economy is not where it wants to be and, even though I believe all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones, we’re still going through difficult circumstances.”

This is from his recent interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper. If Barack Obama truly believes he’s never made a mistake while in office, he is delusional on a scale unprecedented since Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook”. After all, how can you say you’ve never made a single mistake in office, Mr. Obama, when under your Presidency the American people are enjoying the following fruits of your labors:

• The ”misery index” today is at its highest level in 28 years.
• The unemployment rate has been above 9 percent for 27 of the last 29 months.
• Long-term unemployment is at its highest level in more than 70 years.
• The national debt is $14.8 trillion — nearly $5 trillion more than four years ago.
• The federal deficit is $1.3 trillion — more than eight times higher than four years ago.
• Federal spending is $3.57 trillion — nearly $1 trillion more than four years ago.
• The United States’ credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history.
• You spent $814 billion on a stimulus program so unemployment wouldn’t rise above 8 percent and would drop to 6.5 percent by today. Since then, unemployment has never dropped below 8 percent and is 9.1 percent today.
• A record 45 million Americans (nearly one in seven) use the food-stamp program — 20 million more than four years ago.
• A record 3.8 million foreclosures were filed last year.
• Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

Hat tip: NRO’s Peter Kirsanow. If that’s perfection, I sure would like to see what a picture of failure would look like.

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”

That’s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, speaking from the Senate floor in defense of S. 1723, the called “teachers and first responders bill”, unlimately rejected by both Senate Democrats (although you’ll never hear that from the mainstream dino-media) and those mean, nasty Republicans. This from the five-term senator from Nevada, where, BTW, the current unemployment is 13.4% and where the nation’s highest foreclosure rate ain’t goin’ down any time soon.

As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey writes, “Anyone with a functioning conscience would blush while claiming that private-sector job growth has been “just fine” while shilling for funding of bureaucrats.” But I gave up on ol’ senile Harry a long time ago saying anything that would make sense. Hopefully, the GOP in 2012 will not make the same kind of mistakes that over-sealous Tea Partiers in Nevada made that resulted in Reid being elected for another six-year term.

“Let’s get it straight, guy. Don’t screw around with me.”

That’s Vice President Joe Biden responding to a journalist’s question about his repeated statements that the number of rapes nationwide would increase if Republicans don’t sign on to President Obama’s latest “jobs” proposal.

Never mind the fact that Biden’s assertions are the most outrageous lies – so much so that no less than the Washington Post – the Washington Post! – had to knock him down a few notches. Once again we see the occupants of this White House – the house of every American, liberal and conservative alike – being used as a non-stop election central run amok where large sections of Americans. In this case Republicans (as usual), but in the past bankers, corporations, corporate jet owners, ATM developers, the Cambridge, Mass. police, etc. have been demonized. Not criticized. DEMONIZED.

Biden’s comments are breathtakingly both stupid and ignorant, demeaning to the office he holds. But I’m not sure between him and Barack Obama their offices can be demeaned any more than what they have been. It’s almost as if these guys are doing the political form of the Limbo Rock, seeing just how low they can go.

What’s truly frightening about these comments is how blatant their lies are, and there’s no one – not a one – in the mainstream dino-media interested in performing the slightest amount of journalism to call them on it. Journalism is dead in this country – unless, of course, the target is a Republican. When people believe, and I mean truly believe, their own lies they are capable of anything, weaving an alternative universe around them in order to achieve their political goals. Washington right now is a dangerous place, and this country needs to be rescued from these pathetic liars and their bullying socialist agenda as soon as November 2012 comes around.

Filed in: Politics & World Events,Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:17 | Comments Off on Halloween Arrives Early


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