February 28, 2014

Land where some dreams are realized and others are broken; Lucky Town (for some)
Abundance of waste
Sexy showgirls; spectacular shows; sparkling costumes & clothes

Vivacious energy in the air; vivid neon signs & lights EVERYWHERE
Excess at its finest & worst
Gambling galore; gaudy, garish, grand; gloriously decadent
Always open
Sin City

(Hat tip: Christine Bruness)

Yes, it’s all that and then some. See y’all when I’m back!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:42 | Comments (0)
February 27, 2014

How bad has the gubmint botched the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) rollout? About as badly as one would expect, given how poorly-written, and hardly read the legislation was before it was passed and then managed by Health and Human Services. With the possible exception of the Democrats who alone voted for it, everyone knew this was nothing but a political ploy to expand the role and size of the federal government and, under the guise of seeking to cover the non-insured and under-insured, funnel millions of dollars to political fatcats and well-connected political operatives.

But no one, I don’t think, even in their wildest imagination, thought the Obama adminsitration would botch the ACA rollout as badly as it has, offering up excuses, lies upon lies, and incompetency and lack of accountability in staggering proportions. Jim Geraghty of National Review Online’s Campaign Spot blog has just the latest in the series of disasters that have plagued Obamacare from the very start. Check it out, it’s really pretty amazing. One can only imagine what the mainstream media would be doing had this been the brainchild of a Republican Congress and White House – why, you’d never hear the end of it!

Unfortunately, there’s no one in the media except conservative blogs and Fox News covering just how bad things are out there. I guess it’s going to have to take a wave mid-term election for the Democrats to understand just how badly this has been handled. And even then I don’t think they would care, because just by getting the bill into law they’ve accomplished what they set out to do.

And the American people are all the poorer for it.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:24 | Comments (0)
February 26, 2014

OK, it’s time to get this off my chest.

I’m beyond tired of hearing about it and reading about it no matter where I go.

To put it plain, I’m sick of the media’s unending focus on folks’ sexual identity. A basketball player comes “out of the closet” and says he’s gay. Great. My only question is, can you play basketball? A football player comes “out of the closet” and says he’s gay. Big f’in deal. My only question is, can you play football? The state of Arizona wants to protect people who, for religious reasons, don’t want to support a gay couple’s marriage and don’t think they should be prosecuted simply because they don’t want to bake a wedding cake for, or shoot wedding photos at, a gay marriage ceremony. And so we’re now a bunch of homophobes on top of being racists and sexists.

I’m sick of it.

Let me state for the record that I could give a rat’s a$$ if two guys or two women want to go to the local JP and get “married”. Good for them, I hope it lasts. What I consider “marriage” and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony as Christian doctrine and tradition are two different things. What “the State” considers to be “marriage” is up to a bunch of bow-tied, bum-kissing politicians who couldn’t chew gum and fart without a set of instructions. What the Church considers to be a holy union in the eyes of God is something people can choose to agree or disagree with, but that’s the way it is. And no bow-tied, bum-kissing pol is gonna be able to change that – there is such a thing as separation of Church and State called (you may have heard of it) the Constitution.

Before I go further, let me state that there’s a huge different between people who consider themselves gay, lesbian, transgendered, or whatever they want to call themselves, and the Organized Homosexuality lobby. The former – and I count myself as long-time friend of someone in this group – is a bunch of folks that go about their daily business in a way no different from you or I; they live their lives in search of the same happiness anyone else does. The other makes a living out of seeking ways to further their agenda through lawsuit and intimidation whenever anyone makes the mistake of looking at them the wrong way. Refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple? Refuse to take photographs at a gay couple’s wedding? Refuse to rent out to them a flat that you yourself own? Sue them.

Because you can’t take them out back and shoot them.

Listen to what your Uncle Shank is saying here. I could care less what you do in your bedroom, so don’t expect me to have to dance to your tune. Neither would (or should) I expect you to dance to mine, whatever it is. You don’t like my lifestyle? Fine. But don’t expect me to have to like and support yours if I don’t agree with it. There are plenty of other photographers and cake-bakers who would love to have your business, so frequent them and encourage all your friends to do likewise. It’s called live and let live.

Oh, and don’t expect me to support the idea of “gay rights” as being the next great Civil Rights battle. There’s no comparison. And I guarantee you, while Dr. Martin Luther King (who was all about people respecting one another as God’s creatures) would call for tolerance and respect when it comes to this kind of thing, he’d find absolutely zero commonality whatsoever between the true evil of segregation and the pathetic bleatings of those snubbed by Christian cake-bakers and wedding photographers. And I guarantee that thousands wouldn’t march on Washington to protect the rights of people who (and believe me I’m being kind here, this is a family blog) desire sexual relations with someone of the same gender.

As much as the Organized Homosexuality movement is all about making sexual identity the primary means by which people are judged, I don’t. I don’t care what you or anyone else does in your bedroom. I also don’t care what you fantasize about, who you want to shack up with legally, or the fact you insist upon others to make you feel good about certain sexual choices you have made or are making in your life. Neither should I care or insist upon what you or anyone else thinks about what I do in my bedroom, or who I want to live with legally.

If you really want to make a difference in the world, do us all a favor and keep your sexual preferences and desires to yourself. Anyone or anything that judges or identifies a person by whom they desire sexually – or insists that others do likewise – is a pea-wit, and that goes for most of the mainstream media. And anyone who uses their own sexual identity as a weapon to force others into your own idea of what “tolerance” and conformity” is, is not just a pea-wit, but someone who supports a dangerous form of tyranny at that.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 02:18 | Comments (0)
February 25, 2014

If he had done nothing else other than Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Caddyshack, he would be a legend in Hollywood comedy director circles. But he did so much more.

There’s no golfer alive who, at one time or another, hasn’t quoted Caddyshack while on the course. I wish I had a nickel for every time with a hole on the line that fellow Goodboy “Killer” Kowalski didn’t mimic Ted Knight in saying, “Well, we’re waiting!”. Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online has made his affection for Groundhog Day an annual rite in NRO’s Corner Blog, and I think he’s right. Lots of people think Stripes was Ramis’s funniest picture, but I have to admit I’ve never seen it – guess I’ll have to make a point of checking it out if it ever comes on cable. I remember “Ghostbusters” because of the theme song, because it was so much fun, and because Sigourney Weaver (who I used to have an immense crush on – just check her out in Peter Weir’s The Year Of Living Dangerously) was such a fox in it.

And then, of course, there is Animal House, which Ramis helped write.

Harold Ramis was a great director and a comedic genius. He’ll be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:22 | Comment (1)
February 24, 2014

…and I don’t mean the 1990s. Roger Angell was for a long time one of my favorite writers when it came to the game of baseball. His quiet eloquence about writing of the game (a game, not a sport), the imprint it had on this country and its history (is their any doubt Ken Burns’ Baseball was inspired by Angell’s writings?) made it come alive for me in a way that few others ever did.

Truth be told, I thought Angell had passed away long ago, so it was with great joy that I came upon this article of his in the New Yorker, where Angell, now well into his nineties, talks about what life is like when you’ve already made the clubhouse turn.

It’s a gem. Read the whole thing.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:03 | Comments (2)
February 22, 2014

T-1 week before my annual Vegas weekend and the anticipation is building. What will we do? Where will we go? What will we see? the usual stuff. But this year it’s what will the weather be this coming week? We’re planning on golfing at Wynn Las Vegas but the forecast for weekend is all over the place, from cloudy with an occasional shower in the ’60s on Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday – take your pick – to sunny and low to high ’60s each of the days – take your pick. And for my Goodboys friends trying to get out of winter-ravaged Massachusetts, will there be a coastal storm that snarls air traffic on Tuesday into Wednesday, or Wednesday into Thursday (the day they’re supposed to depart), or little if nothing at all? I’ll tell you, it’s strange checking all the weather blogs on a daily basis to see how the forecasts are changing. To think in this day and age, with all the technology we humans have at our disposal, that no one can predict with any kind of certainty what the weather will be even 4-5 days out – ever mind a week’s time. Such is the folly of human arrogance.

Mother Nature rules, humans drool.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:14 | Comments (0)
February 21, 2014

I guess I’m a golf snob – at least when it comes to golf courses. There are two kinds of golf courses in the Valley of the Sun – courses with fairways and rough that are lush and green, and rocket-fast greens as soft as a carpet beneath your feet (all courtesy of reclaimed water), and glorified cow pastures like the one I played today at Western Skies Golf Club. Tucked into a sub-division with folks’ backyards lining virtually every hole to your left, Western Skies has tiny fairways with the thinnest of grass, lots of dirt areas as hard as concrete with some ponds of reclaimed water to make things interesting on every right, and greens with the thinnest of grass so it was impossible to guage the speed from one to another. Add to that few distance markers and a GPS system that was anywhere from six to twelve yards off on every hole, and the result was defense and recovery from one hole to another.

It’s not that our foresome didn’t have a good time – we did – but if there was one course where having a reliable stinger shot off of every tee would have been in order this was one of them, and none of us did. Hence, everyone played in recovery mode throughout the day and shot anywhere from 6-8 strokes off our normal round (if there is such a thing). Me? I simply couldn’t get used to the thin lies and slow greens, and it blew my much-heralded-of-late, inside-of-140 yards game to bits. The embarrassing result (50 + 56 = 106) underscored the need for a stinger shot in my arsenal when I absolutely, positively must get the ball in the fairway off the tee – something someone of my skills (or lack thereof) needs not just here, but back home in New England when it’s not folks’ patios, pools, and poodles you’re trying to avoid, but deep woods and water. I’ve been practicing one of late, but yesterday my attempts cost me more than they helped.

The only good thing about my round at the Cow Pasture is that I learn a helluva lot more from poor rounds than I do from good ones. And like it or not, part of my 2014 Goodboys Invitational preparation will feature a return trip back to Western Skies when the weather is blistering hot and the dirt, the dust, and the thin lies and thin greens will be even more so. As the song goes, if I can make it there I can it anywhere. Sometimes you just have to put your golf snobbiness in your back pocket and play it where it lies. After all, that what real golf is supposed to be all about, isn’t it?

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 18:01 | Comments (0)
February 20, 2014

When it comes to me and fellow Goodboy The Funny Guy, as good and long-time friends as we are, there’s not a whole lot we have in common. And the things we do have are best left for sharing at another time and in another place – preferably over cocktails at the Parasol Up at Wynn Las Vegas. :-) TFG’s a great golfer, I’m a up-and-comer. And he’s got the gift of gab and a cocky reassurance I could never in a million years hope to match.

Of the differences we share, however, none are more apparent as our individual locales this very day. Whereas TFG’s lakeside villa is locked in solid in the dead of a New England winter:

Here is our hacienda in the Valley of the Sun:

I’m not saying any one is better than the other – and truth be told, I’ll take the 4th of July at TFG’s over the sauna that is Gilbert, Arizona that same time of year. But folks don’t live in Arizona for the summers, and like most folks, I’d rather be too hot than too cold.

Besides, like they say, you don’t have to shovel sunshine…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:23 | Comments (0)
February 18, 2014

So goes the Jimmy Buffett tune.

But also like that Pink Floyd tune goes, how I wish, how I wish you were here.

It’s Tuesday, March February 18th – T-10 days and counting until Vegas, and it’s 81 degrees on my patio in Gilbert, AZ just before 6 PM. The sun is low on the horizon, the Pinot Grigio is cool and crisp, and I’m trying to wind down from a stressful day at work. The air is beyond lovely – fragrant with the almost-overpowering scent of citrus flowers all around us. It looks to be a banner year not just for our lemon and lime trees (around the corner on our east side), but for the Harley guy next door’s grapefruit tree (just over the west wall to my right). The back patio has been scrubbed clean, and we’re getting ready for the big upcoming “Painting Weekend”, where the Tiki bar and the Kahuna get their annual staining before the spring and summer sun and heat start in earnest.

A couple of photos to show you what spring looks here like in the Valley of the Sun. In New England, Spring reveals itself in the yellows of the daffodils and forsythia, but here the bright yellows are of the acacias:

This bush started as a single plant – one of the first I planted after coming here ten years ago but it not only has grown, but it has grown into multiple bushes that one of these years will engulf poor St. Francis.

I’m not sure what this cactus is called – but the red nipple flowers that it generates are pretty cool to see. This cactus is obviously feeling pretty good about itself this Spring of 2014.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:57 | Comments (6)
February 13, 2014

I know, it’s been a few days since my last post, but frankly there hasn’t been a whole lot to say. We’ve had beautiful weather here in the Valley of the Sun – the brief bout with “Arizona winter” and 50-60 degree temps lasted no more than a week, and now we’re back up in the low 80s. It’s actually been warm enough that I could tell my new queen palms needed a drink in between waterings, so today I filled up their bowls. You can also sense the change in the sun angle, and I’ve actually worked up a sweat doing my walks this week.

My primary focus this week has been searching for a new friend for our rabbit Cosmo, who has been miserable since he lost his mate Peanut three weeks ago. There are quite a few rabbit rescues here in the Phoenix area but even with all the rabbits to choose from we’re still in search mode.

The best of the bunch – Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary – has nearly 80 rabbits under their care, but the vast majority of them are pairs, and the single rabbits are single for a reason – like our Marlie, they don’t get along with other rabbits. And one thing we’ve learned over the years about bonding rabbits is: a) there’s no scientific way of telling how a rabbit will adapt to bonding attempts with another rabbit, and b) you can’t force the issue. We lucked out with my sister-in-law’s rabbits “The Beastie Boys” – they were really mellow and any chicks we’ve introduced them to just lapped up the attention. We also lucked out with our rabbits Geronimo and Butterscotch – it took a few days but they became fast friends.

My experience at Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue was just bizarre and frustrating. The majority of their rabbits are single and we found a couple of possible candidates for bonding. But even though we’ve adopted three of their rabbits in the past – Cosmo being the first of them – they wouldn’t allow any rabbit to attempt to be bonded in our home; we would have had to bring Cosmo there. How stupid. Cosmo’s at least eight years old, and as a gentle elder statesman doesn’t need the stress of being away from his familiar home and stuck in a strange place with a bunch of strange rabbits and people. And no amount of prodding would convince the BHRR folks of our experience and intentions, so the hell with them.

What’s left? Well, we’re checking networks of fellow rabbit owners out and there are a couple of rabbits at the Humane Society that might be candidates. There’s also Craigslist – folks around here have quite a few rabbits for sale. Problem is, if, for whatever reason the bonding attempt with Cosmo doesn’t work out we’d have three rabbits who require separate living areas, and we just don’t have that kind of room. So who knows what will happen.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:29 | Comments (2)

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