September 11, 2015

New York City. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

Washington, D.C.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Benghazi – y’know, what Hillary Clinton once said, “what difference does it make?” (Hat tip: Instapundit)

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:48 | Comments (0)
September 10, 2015

It’s been a cloudy, muggy week in the Valley of the Sun, but with temperatures only in the 90s we’ll take it. Here are a few thoughts about stuff goin’ on…

If he keeps this kind of thing up, Donald Trump is going to make it harder for his supporters who appreciate his bombastic style to keep supporting him. I mean, you can’t talk about a woman’s looks like that. If he had said that about my wife in public we would have words, believe me. I wish for once he’d just suck it up, ditch his ego for ten seconds, then apologize and forever after stick to the friggin’ issues. Perhaps that might be asking too much?

With so much misery going on in the world today it’s nice to read stories like this.

…It’s been more than three weeks since the plastic came off the pool and – knock on wood – there has been nary a bee sighting. I hope wherever they went they’ve found a more accommodating place.

…I sure miss hitting golf balls. Maybe in a few weeks as I prepare for a fall visit back home to Massachusetts.

I’m with National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg: we don’t need Hillary Clinton’s apology for keeping a private e-mail server for national security e-mailing – we need answers. And National Journal’s Ron Fornier – a die-hard liberal, BTW, who has been on Hillary’s case from the start, has just the questions he would like to see answered. If her initials weren’t HRC, the federal government would be preparing a very nice cell for her in Leavenworth.

And I’m with NRO’s David French on the pathetic, do-nothing body that the U.S. Senate has become. You can’t allow a minority to run roughshod over how a legislative body does business. And it requires a strong leader (something Mitch McConnell isn’t) to make things happen. Just like in Congress, there are too many fat and comfy elected officials feeding off the public trough.

I guess I don’t understand the whole Kim Davis / Kentucky / gay marriage licensing thing. If your religious beliefs prevent you from handing out marriage licenses to gay couples, then simply delegate the activity to someone else. After all, a) she’s a government official with a job to do, and b) like it or not, gay marriage is the law of the land. It’s one thing to have religious convictions; when they interfere with the job you’ve been hired to do you either find a way to work around it, or you find another line of work.

Found myself re-visiting Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk and enjoying it a lot – it’s one my top five albums of all time. I especially love the brashness of this Lindsay Buckingham tune.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:17 | Comments (0)
September 8, 2015

I’ll say this about September here in the Valley of the Sun: it reminds me of August back home in New England. The days are hot, but not like 110 hot, but it’s the humidity that you notice. The pool is starting to cool down (it’s now a refreshing 86 degrees) and the nights are as well, although you’d be hard-pressed to start calling the nights “cool”. Better to call them cooler, which, I guess, is not saying much. Anyways, we have a hurricane lurking off the Baja that is going to bring in some moisture over the next few days. Anytime there is rain in the forecast you won’t hear me complain.

A few other thoughts:

Can you imagine, say, Tiger Woods doing this kind of thing after winning a tournament like the Deutschebank Championship? It’s just another example of why Rickie is so popular with golf fans and the media alike. He’s a genuine good guy who has really picked his game up in the past year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him win a major next year, and I think a Masters green jacket would look pretty awesome on him.

Is there a politician more disliked than Hillary Clinton these days? Beyond the fact that she’s as phony as a three-dollar bill, her latest comments about the e-mail and national security scandal she finds herself immersed in shows that: a) she’s completely clueless about the implications of her actions, b) she knows exactly what’s going on and she’s lying her wide pantsuited-ass off in a pathetic attempt to keep her campaign above ater, or c) Both. I’m guessing c. Seriously, I don’t see her campaign lasting through the New Year. She’s beyond damaged goods and the Democrats must know they’re going to have to orchestrate something to make her drop out of the race.

Jonah Goldberg and the good folks at National Review Online are wondering why conservatives like myself are Supporting Donald Trump’s campaign for the GOP nomination. Conservative Treehouse articulates it better than I ever could but here is the basic gist: I’m sick of the GOP establishment and the John Boehners, John McCains, Mitt Romneys, and Mitch McConnells. What’s the point of electing Republicans if all they do is lay down and support the status quo? These are a bunch of gutless, spineless weasels that have to go, and while I’m not sure Donald Trump stands for everything I hold dear as a conservative, I guarantee he’s going to shake up the status quo in Washington. He’s not going to put up with the gross ineptitude and corruption that Washington stands for, and I will celebrate the end of the GOP as it now exists were Trump (win or lose) to get the GOP nomination. Burn it down and let’s start from scratch, I say.

Nice try, Joe. That message might work as an opposition party candidate but riddle me this: what party has held the White House the last 6 1/2 years?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:05 | Comments (0)
September 7, 2015

Back from a long Labor Day weekend where I did a lot of labor in the back yard. There was a pool to backwash (it was fun seeing dead bees amidst the usual dirt and detritus), bushes to trim, and a back yard to lay topsoil and peat moss as I attempt to turn my grass to dichondra.

Here’s the story. A few years ago, I grabbed a can of what I though was grass seed and tossed it all over the bare spots in my back yard. In a classic case of Leaping before I looked I realized that it wasn’t grass seed I was spreading, but dichondra, which, as you can see in the link above, is a kind of clover-looking lawn cover. Horrified, I spent an entire afternoon with a broom and brush trying to sweep up all the seed I had sown. I thought I did a pretty good job of it, but a month later I’m seeing clover sprout from all over the place. And three years later it has taken over a vast section of my backyard, crowding out the grass and kicking ass and taking names.

And I’ve found I like the dichondra. It’s bright green, it doesn’t seem to care if I over water or under water the lawn, it stays the same color through summer and not-summer (the only two seasons we have here in the Valley of the Sun), and, best of all, it’s like walking on a lush, soft carpet. So I decided, if you can’t beat it, join it.

Which I did this weekend. A couple of trips to Lowe’s for bags and bags of topsoil and pea moss, and three canisters of dichondra. Spread the topsoil out, sprinkle the dichondra, cover with peat moss, work it all in and walk all over it to pack it down, and give it a good water. I will say this: the vibrant green color of the dichondra will really set apart the Tiki bar area and the deck I installed last year.

I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:59 | Comments (0)
September 3, 2015

… I just happened to see come across this YouTube video of a massive dust storm we had back in July of 2012. I wasn’t around – that happened to be Goodboys Invitational weekend – but I remember Tracey telling me all about it, and it serves as a reminder of what you can get during monsoon season around here. You can get everything some severe thunderstorms to haboobs that cover the place in dust. I hope you enjoy it – the guy who filmed it could have been in our sub-division. Of course, then again, all sub-divisions around here seem to look alike. But you get a sense of Valley of the Sun living during the monsoon season. Enjoy!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:09 | Comments (2)
September 1, 2015

Tracey and I were sitting on the back patio watching lightning flash to our west and to our east. The top of a huge thunderhead east of us was bathed in a fiery salmon color as the sun went down, but it seemed to be moving to the north and away from us. As it got dark, the storm to the west of us seemed another thing entirely, as the lightning flashes became more numerous and started to wrap around to our northwest and southwest. We were certain someone was getting smashed, but neither of us thought we’d get anything but perhaps a glancing blow from its eastern end as that storm too seemed to be moving to the north.

Normally when I see these kinds of conditions I head to the Weather Underground or Accuweather websites to get a look at the radar, but we were just enjoying the night and our cocktails, and the non-stop lightning and increasing thunder to our west was a sight to see. And even though it seemed the lightning and thunder were growing in intensity we both still thought the storm was going to pass to our west.

A little breeze began to kick up and the wind chimes began to tinkle happily. The lightning to the northwest was really getting intense, so I decided to go out front to get a better look. I walked down the driveway to the street to get a better look and it was really something else. A streak of lightning appeared directly overhead, and when I looked up a big fat raindrop hit me square in the face. And then another one and another one. Heading back up the driveway I could hear a blast of wind to our west heading towards us, and it hit just as I made it to front door.

No more than fifteen seconds later I walk out the back door and it looks like a hurricane has blown in – very strong wind and a driving rain that was moving sideways. Now the thunder and lightning were more overhead, but you could barely hear the thunder because of the commotion being made by the trees, the wind, and the rain. It all came in blasts, and all of a sudden a very big gust hit. I heard a branch break and you could actually feel the house shudder. I told Tracey that had to be at least 60 MPH. The high-voltage power lines across the street were wailing with a high pitch as yet another blast hit us. I headed out to the front once again and saw the decorative Cyprus tree in a lovely colorful Mexican pot tipped over across the doorway. Fortunately, the pot hadn’t broken, so I put it back in place. And just then a really big blast hit, and the tree again toppled over in a big way, smashing the pot to bits before my very eyes.

I went out back and could see that our big Mesquite tree now had some branches sagging towards the ground and on top of the Tiki bar, so I knew it had gotten damaged. The rain came down in sheets and the wind just kept on going. Twenty minutes later, the rolling thunder and lightning had freight trained its way east, and Tracey and I enjoyed what was left of the rain in the pool, which at 94 degrees was now warmer than the air temperature which had dropped a whole fifteen degrees in the storm; the thermometer now read 88 degrees.

This morning I took a walk outside and saw the Palo Verde tree down the end of the street had taken a beating:

Tracey said that some big trees were downed on the next street over. This afternoon you could hear chainsaws in every direction as clean-up crews got to work. Taking a walk out back I noticed that one can look straight up from under our Mesquite tree and see a whole bunch of clear sky where some big branches were – branches that are now low-hanging just above the ground and on top of the Tiki bar:

I’m gonna put this storm in the top five we’ve experienced in the dozen years we’ve lived here in the Valley. Its power and magnitude storm was really something to behold, and lots of folks are still impacted. You never know what you’re gonna get during monsoon season, and we’ve still got a month left to go.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:53 | Comments (0)

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