January 18, 2017

A few thoughts while I head back to Arizona and count the hours and minutes down until the juveniles are escorted out of the White House and the adults take over:

Does anyone really care about Democrats who refuse to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration? I can tell you I certainly don’t care – it only makes them look small and petty. Most Americans, I think, would share that opinion. It’s clear the Democrats in Washington still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Trump defeated Clinton, and all they’re doing is paving the way towards their continued decline in numbers and influence come the 2018 mid-terms.

The big question is whether Hillary Clinton is to be amongst those pardoned. I’m predicting a big, fat “YES!”.

Funny how these things happen. Take way the dough, take away the show. Just more evidence that the much vaunted, holier-than-thou Clinton Global Initiative was just a grift designed to line the Clintons’ pockets with blackmail cash.

…I wonder how Diane Reynolds feels?

I watched the confirmation hearing of Trump’s selection for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last night and was aghast at the pettiness, rudeness, and utterly juvenile behavior of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. She’s a disgrace to the institution Massachusetts voters voted her into, and I can’t imagine being a Massachusetts resident and seeing her as one of my senators. She is, simply, a bitch.

…and to say Minnesota senator Al Franken is ill-informed, crude and an equally embarrassing to the Senate as an institution is an understatement.

This story tells you everything that is, and was ever, wrong about the Obama administration from Day 1. Silly me, I thought the whole goal of the CIA was to protect Americans from threats both internal and external. The Obama administration was never about making the government and all its related agencies and departments work the way they were intended to, but to employ all facets of government, at every possible level, to push a radical progressive agenda down the throats of as many Americans as possible.

Of course Barack Obama isn’t going away anytime soon. He and his mooching wife had zero class when they occupied the White House, why should anyone expect anything different once they’re gone?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 10:25 | Comments (0)
January 16, 2017

We’re in the last days of the Barack Obama presidency, and the Democrats have turned into a virtual laughing-stock in their attempts to de-legitimize Donald Trump’s presidency before it even starts. They’ve tried placing the blame on Hillary Clinton’s loss in November on the media, WikiLeaks, the Russians – everyone and everything except where it belongs: on the candidate herself and President Barack Obama, whose policies and legacy she was being pushed to support from the Democratic Party’s far left.

As the days of Barack’s presidency dwindle down to a precious few, there continues to be a lot of whining and hand-wringing over how a seasoned “can’t-miss” candidate like Hillary Clinton failed so miserably to beat the likes of Donald J. Trump. As much as I was a Trump guy, I recently watched several of the Republican primary debates and still have a hard time believing the guy got away with some of the crap he got away with. But he did, and he did by partly by playing the role of a “larger than life” candidate, partly because none of the other candidates had the stones to stand up to the Trump bully. A lot of Democrats and liberals still have a hard time with this, and to be brutally honest, I can’t blame them.

But, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and I’ve said in this forum ever since she first ran as presumptive nominee in 2008 against a (then) upstart Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton was, is, and will now forever be, near the top of everyone’s list as the worst candidate to ever run for President. And it’s not because she was unqualified (although, I would argue how being a former First Lady, a do-nothing senator from New York, and an abysmal Secretary of State serve as qualifications), it’s because the only reason she was put into those positions in 2008 and 2012 was because her last name was Clinton. As a candidate she was cold, wooden, distant, shrill, churlish, unattractive (did anyone ever wear uglier clothes?), and prefabricated; as a person I would add to that lazy, privileged, and possessing of incredibly poor judgment.

As much as I would like to crow about Donald Trump winning the election, the overwhelming evidence is not so much that Trump won as much as Hillary lost. While it is clear that Trump deserved the win that he got – after all, more than anything else, he absolutely out-worked Hillary – it was still her election to lose, and lose it she did. Forget about the three million votes that I believe will ultimately be uncovered as fraudulent; even without those votes (they coming primarily from the “blue” states of California, Nevada, and New Mexico) she came within a whisker’s breath of winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – states that should have been no-brainers within the Clinton camp.

So why weren’t they? I’m not much of a Huffington Post reader, but in this case this article is a must-read for all you Democrats and liberals pounding the pavement to protest Trump as if he took something away from you. In the end, Clinton supporters out there have only Hillary to blame:

Bill Clinton once said “I feel your pain,” a turning point in the 1992 election. Hillary’s team asked focus groups to describe working-class pain. Then they chose the language that offered the highest probability of an applause. Then they hired a team of PR consultants operating from an Alexandria-based office overlooking the Potomac. Or were they in Georgetown? None of them actually knew what it felt like to lose a job and a house in a period of two weeks. Trump, meanwhile, dug a finger into voters’ wounds and screamed, “Do you feel that? You know who did this to you!”

…Clinton embodied everything that Americans have grown tired of. She profited immensely from her public resume, earning more in 30 minutes giving a speech to a bank than many Rust Belt voters earn in six years. One must lack a moral code to deny the crony nature of the Clinton Foundation. One must suspend all belief in common sense to think that a private server was initiated for matters of convenience when an uncovered e-mail from 2009 said that “HRC does not know how to use a computer to do e-mail, only bb [Blackberry].”

Read the whole thing (and, if you’re a Democrat, weep). Everything I’ve always said about Hillary Clinton manifested themselves in the 2016 election. The sense of entitlement, aloofness, and condescending attitude towards not just Trump supporters, but her own Party and supporters (who she thought were dumb enough to consume the focus-group slop her handlers ensured her would work) – all those chickens came home to roost. She was an empty shell either so detached from reality that she thought the election was in the bag and that she didn’t have to work for it or ill-informed and ill-advised by the people she surrounded herself with that the sense of entitlement she felt created a bubble she could never escape from. Was it the Russians who advised Hillary to ignore the pleas of her campaign in Wisconsin and not visit there for a single rally? Was it the Russians who told her to call half the electorate “deplorables”, or take days off from the campaign trail while Trump was holding as much as three rallies a day?

My view is that Hillary was simply out-worked and out-hustled by Donald Trump because, when it came to the American presidency, he just wanted it more. And people fed off that passion and energy. Had Hillary been a more attractive candidate (in every manner of speaking), she might have gotten away with it. But she wasn’t, and the Democratic establishment that allowed themselves to be hood-winked by the promise of a Hillary Clinton candidacy – not once, but twice – have only themselves to blame. Except they can’t. After all, it’s far easier to blame the Russians.

Look at it this way: while I’ve never been much of an Obama fan, can you imagine the soon-to-be former president making a video like this? It really encapsulates who Hillary Clinton was and why her candidacy was rejected by so many voters. But that’s OK as far as I’m concerned: let the Democrats continue to think it was the Russians who voted Trump in, and let them continue to de-legitimize his presidency. If they think 2016 was bad, wait till they see what the 2018 mid-terms bring.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 14:18 | Comments (0)
January 11, 2017

It’s an early Wednesday morning and we’re somewhere over Colorado as I head back to Massachusetts for a seven-day break from all the crazy activity going on back in Arizona. I’ve got a new laptop from work – a ThinkPad Ultrabook that has turned my flying experience into mayhem as I’ve traded my old, trusty, comfortable and reliable laptop travel case into this tinier version with pockets I haven’t quite figured out yet. It does seem to have a much improved battery that might actually last nearly the entire flight from Phoenix to Boston. I’ve got George Harrison playing in the ear buds, and it’s pretty cool to hear the separation of familiar songs going on between the ears. Next I’ll try some Pink Floyd and really give my ears something to think about!

Even though I’m heading back to Massachusetts there is so much going on back home that it will be pretty hard to consider it a true break: we’re so knee-deep in turning our financial ship around from where we have been for so long to the point of being ostrich-like to where our new Edelman Financial Services advisor says we need to be in preparation for our inevitable (hopefully) retirements that it’s hard to distinguish between all the outstanding items left on out living trust, insurance, house re-finance, and 401K / 403(B) conversions to IRAs to-do list. Our dining room table has become a virtual smorgasbord of file folders, pamphlets, authorization forms, and notes that needs to be sorted out and acted upon at my return.

…and that doesn’t include all the paperwork involved with my sister-in-law Tammy’s divorce: we’re really close to getting it done but because it’s all legal stuff involving the courts and an out-of-state no-fault divorce everything has to be done to the letter proper and on time. The last hurdle comes on January 20 when four different forms need to be notarized and oh-so-carefully assembled in the proper format so that the Arizona Superior Court clerk doesn’t throw them back in our faces instead of stamping them and filing them away for the judge’s final decision.

…and that doesn’t include this damned project at work that has been going on for the past eight months that was supposed to have been completed this month but now looks like it will be more like early February. My company is relying on our team to deliver an interim custom solution to several anxious clients while our development organization comes up with a permanent solution, and each of those clients wants something slightly different from the other. Both yours truly and my valiant team of Indian developers have been pushed in every direction one can imagine to ensure it all happens somewhat on time – something which, given our different time zones, means lots of late-night calls and early morning calls on my part to keep things moving forward and on track.

To say that I’m bushed and frazzled doesn’t do those terms justice. There’s too much on my mind to be getting solid hours of sleep, so luxuriating bubbly soaks in a hot bath tub with a good book and late nights on a dark patio with a Pinot Grigio are about the only chance for relief I get. George Harrison’s music has been a regular accompaniment during this time, and I’ve also been reading two books on his life and music: Simon Leng’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Graeme Thomson’s George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door. Harrison was a very complex individual, the better part of his life spent attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable: the spiritual search for self-realization in the Divine amidst a life lived with the equally-strong pull of the physical and material world.

I’ve come to feel a strong kinship with Harrison: like he, I have long felt myself a stranger walking in a world in which I really don’t feel as if I belong and, frankly, don’t wish to belong. There’s a Tibetan monk sitting in the row in front of me, and how I long to divorce myself from this world and immerse myself in his. At one time I thought God was calling me to be a priest. I have long thought I was called to be divorced from the world and to be a monastic. I’m starting to realize that maybe all this time all God has only been calling me to be me. Which is fine, except that after all these years I don’t know who I am or what I’m supposed to be. I guess that’s where self-realization comes in. Some folks would call it a mid-life crisis and buy themselves a convertible Mustang or ditch their wife for a younger trophy, but that’s just living in denial and external stuff. Self-realization is much more personal and personally taxing.

I’ll admit: I’m feeling kind of lost and running on fumes. At one time I saw golf as a way to escape, to get away from everything and a way to hit the reset button, but I’m just not feeling it anymore – it seems like too much work. Maybe in another month or so when hopefully things settle down on all the fronts I’ll find the mood. But for right now I’m just someone impersonating a train moving from one station to another, checking items off a never-ending to-do list. Getting away from it all for a week will hopefully provide a needed break in the at least the non-work stuff (it’s not really a vacation), and it will be good to how my dad is doing and see a few friends before hopping back into the financial frenzy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comments (0)
January 8, 2017

After a heavy post it’s time to lighten things up a little ahead of my trip back to Massachusetts this coming week…

Is there anything cheese doesn’t do well?

Oh Chuckie, you think it’s bad now, Donald Trump is just getting started with you.

I watch this video of Michelle Obama’s “farewell address” and can’t help but thing what an utter and total fraud she is. But what really makes the video for me is watching the faces of the women standing behind her. Priceless! Hey, I too almost teared up but for some reason the tears wouldn’t come.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Trump’s election was just the first blow against Hollywood, the media, and political correctness. There is a great reckoning coming, and payback is going to be a bitch. I, for one, can’t wait.

Frankly, if I’m Julian Assange I’d still sue CNN’s asses off. The days of character assassination followed up by a formal apology – as if that makes the original accusation go away – should be over. The best defense is an overwhelming offense. Do it enough times and succeed, and folks will get the message.

See above. I’m no fan of lawyers by any means, but sometimes the only way to make people understand is to hit them hard where they care most, and that most often is in the wallet.

I guess you can call this news you can use. But the picture associated with it grosses me out.

I think this is a lousy idea. Do you mean to tell me the majors would be over by the third weekend in July? Of course, if it means that the Tour could move up the Fed Ex Cup playoffs to start in August and finish up in mid-September I’d be good with that. Anything to create some separation between the end of one year and the start of another.

…of course, if you move the PGA Championship to May, doesn’t that threaten to take the attention of the PGA Tour’s darling event, THE PLAYERS?

This is an old story, but I like it nonetheless.

Doesn’t break my heart to see Megyn Kelly leaving the FOX News nightly line-up. Truth be told, I really liked her when she first started – she had a nice mix of seriousness and silliness and self-deprecating humor that was unique and refreshing. But I think her success got to her head, to the point where Trump really got in her head. And she changed the way she looked, which wasn’t for the better.

Talk to y’all again from the Eastern Time Zone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:38 | Comments (0)
January 7, 2017

Excerpt from the Raja Yoga.

And thus [nature] is working, without beginning and without end. And thus through pleasure and pain, through good and evil, the infinite river of souls is flowing into the ocean of perfection, of self-realisation.

This from George Harrison:

Remember, now, be here now
As it’s not like it was before.
The past, was, be here now
As it’s not what it was before – it was

Why try to live a life,
That isn’t real,
No how
A mind, that wants to wander,
’round a corner,
Is an un-wise mind

Now, is, be here now
And it’s not what it was before,
Remember, now, be here now
As it’s not like it was before – it was

Look, it’s really very simple. The past is an illusion: what we know of it is solely based on our own flawed perception of it, that’s all. The future also is an illusion, based only what each of us anticipates it might be. We could drop dead tomorrow, and what then would be the point of all the planning and expectation?

All there is, is now – God’s creation, and each of us in God’s creation. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to equate the teachings of organized Christianity with the reality that I have lived amongst fools who use it for their own sense of self-worth, power, moral judgement, and superiority. And, to a great extent, my own sense of self worth and importance. Which, by the way, is zero. There’s nothing wrong with the Christian Church and its Judeo-Christian heritage at its core; the sad truth is that it has become corrupt beyond any form of measure. When it starts to practice what it preaches, keep me posted.

I won’t say my six decades immersed in it has been wasted – nothing could be further from the truth. And I can’t say I don’t believe in much of its teachings. But what I will say is that I’ve come to believe that the Church in its everyday practice is no longer relative, and certainly no longer relative to my own place and time in the universe. It’s up to each of us to make our own destiny; we make our own heaven and hell right here on earth, and that should be sufficient for one lifetime. God is most certainly big enough and merciful enough to sort it all out in the end as it relates to our souls in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve spent so much of my life living an illusion of what I am and what and who I should be. I am nothing. And I’ve wasted so much of my life trying to live up to others’ expectations, giving so much of myself to others, yet getting nothing in return. I see so many of my relationships as completely one-sided: if I never reached out to them would I ever hear from them? I think not. And maybe that’s my own fault in my own setting of expectations. But what it does do is help me to recognize that in the end I am responsible for my own happiness, and that I have spent far too much time living with the illusion that it matters and that everything I’ve been involved with is somehow important in the grand scheme of things, which it is not.

And while I can still cherish relationships, it’s time for a reassessment of everything they are and everything I am. In the end, when the cards are all laid on the table, I am alone with the reality of a life lived as a stranger in a strange land, striving to be someone I could never be; someone I wouldn’t even recognize. There’s nothing wrong with asking yourself who the heck you are. There’s everything wrong in looking into the mirror and not knowing who it really is that is staring back at you.

Perhaps the time has come to let go of all of it. I’m given up trying to be someone I’m not and trying to live up to expectations I can’t control. What I can control – and this is so in only the smallest way – is how I seek to be whomever it is I am supposed to be, and to seek God and wisdom and happiness in whatever those forms take. And also recognizing that the search for the above is all relative to what it is you are seeking to begin with.

I’m no longer attending church and have no real plans of ever going back. Tracey and I have our places in the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church Memorial Garden, where our ashes will be placed next to my mom and dad’s (whenever that time comes). Oh, we’ll continue to support St. Anne’s monetarily in the small way we’ve committed ourselves to, but that’s as far as I see myself willing to go from here. In the end I really don’t think God cares one way or the other. I think we are called to live for love and seek love in any and all of its forms, and let God be the judge in the end. I can only be myself.

The water for irrigation of fields is already in the canal, only shut in by gates. The farmer opens these gates, and the water flows in by itself, by the law of gravitation. So all progress and power are already in every man; perfection is man’s nature, only it is barred in and prevented from taking its proper course. If anyone can take the bar off, in rushes nature. Then the man attains the powers which are his already. Those we call wicked become saints, as soon as the bar is broken and nature rushes in. It is nature that is driving us towards perfection, and eventually she will bring everyone there. All these practices and struggles to become religious are only negative work, to take off the bars, and open the doors to that perfection which is our birthright, our nature.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:34 | Comments (0)
January 5, 2017

Unlike the PGA Tour, which always believe that more is better and that the end of one Fed Ex Cup is simply an excuse to start another Fed Ex Cup race on its heels, I like the idea of a break in the action and miss the old so-called “silly season” of events that allowed everyone to take a breath and look forward to the start of a new season in Hawaii.

Which is why the idea of sticking the SBS Tournament of Champions (the latest in a series of sponsors if you can keep track of them as they pass by) at Kapalua smack dab in the middle of a season that’s already been underway since October seems silly to me. I like tradition, and the tradition of Kapalua kicking off the Tour’s season always seemed right to me since it reflected the past (the winners of the previous year’s tournaments) and the present (the start of a new year) so beautifully. After all, who could argue with the idea of watching golf’s “opening day” in tropical Hawaii when most of the country is in the middle of the winter doldrums? But that’s just me, the PGA Tour has made itself so far removed from reality when it comes to golf that few can even relate to all the privileged, spoiled brats who by and large look, act, and swing the same.

Nevertheless, since I’m in the middle of a sabbatical from the game that will likely last until at least March, I’ll still watch and enjoy the scenery.

Since it’s the start of a new year, here are my predictions:

* Rory McIlroy will be #1 in the world rankings by the end of the 2017 season
* Jordan Spieth will get his hot-as-sun burning revenge for what happened last year at the Masters by winning his second green jacket
* Rory McIlroy wins the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the Fed Ex Cup
* Dustin Johnson wins the PGA
* At least a dozen times during CBS’s golf coverage Gary McCord will say, sizing up a player’s downhill lie and needing to carry a bunker to a tight pin placement that, “he’ll be happy to get it within 30 feet”. Upon which said golfer will just miss holing it out and leave it within six feet
* Tiger Woods will play well and be in contention at a tournament or two before he re-injures his back and calls it sayonara

We’ll see what happens come October!

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 23:01 | Comments (0)
January 2, 2017

With the start of the New Year there is no time to lose, for the calendar beckons. We’ve got a financial advisory firm we can trust, and the challenge we’ve been presented to increase our liquidity. In addition to hitching our financial wagon (two 401Ks and a 403(B)) to the Edelman folks, we’re re-financing and taking out some equity in our house to pay off all our credit cards and start pounding our savings account with the lofty goal of saving $50K by the end of 2017. We’re also reassessing all of our insurance options and need to complete the final documentation on our living trust. There’s a lot of paperwork involved and e-mails flying back and forth, but the goal is to have everything we need to have done for 2017 in terms of re-fi, trust, insurance and our investment portfolio in place by end of the month.

The clock is ticking on my sister-in-law’s divorce from the guy she was married to in Florida for a month or so ten years ago (don’t ask, it’s complicated), and the rules for out-of-state divorces is very strict. We’ve already got all the legal forms assembled and have the initial filing in place, now comes the next phase when the request for a no-fault hearing is requested. We need to schedule the notary public for next weekend so we can file with the municipal clerk on the 9th, so that the final documents can be filed exactly eleven days later as required by law on the same day as Donald Trump’s inauguration, January 20.

Next weekend is closet-cleaning weekend. We’ve been using our closets to store all the old computers and related peripherals and books; now we want to clean them out so we can figure out how much closet space we really have. Tracey has my mom’s cedar chest and wants to use that as part of her overall closet configuration. She also has a significant pile of clothes left over from before she lost all that weight. Lots of stuff to donate to good causes, and January is the perfect time for that!

In between that I have a visit back to Massachusetts planned from the 11th through the 18th to spend some time with my dad and to help him out with some remaining items still left over from my mom’s passing.

There’s some landscaping left to do in the backyard – now’s a good time to get the dwarf date palms planted and established before the heat arrives, and Carmelo’s crew will be handling that next Thursday. We’ve also got to figure out what to do with Cosmo’s area now that he’s gone. Our rabbit Peach shares my office space with me right now, but it would be nice to figure out an arrangement that retains the current amount of space he has along with giving our other rabbit Marlie a roommate. That’s gonna be hard.

Once I’m back from Massachusetts it will time for my odd-year immersion into the Eades diet ahead of my physical and re-upping my life insurance policy. At which time Tracey and hope to start work on getting our Arizona concealed carry licenses and handgun permits.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments (0)
January 1, 2017

The one great thing about New Year’s Day is that you really feel as if you’re starting off with a clean slate. The gym is going to be more crowded, but after six weeks or so most of the “newbies” will disappear leaving all of us regulars with the way things were prior to their arrival. It’s so predictable.

That being said, count me among the many who are glad to see shit-awful 2016 in the rear-view mirror and a new year begun. Not that anything has really changed. I think I’ll cheer down.

Anyways, a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 to all from all the Goodboys and from Goodboys Nation weblog!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:01 | Comments (0)

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