November 17, 2017

Look, I know it’s November: back home in New England, the fall is descending darkly into winter, the landscape is turning bleak and gray, the air is crisp, and the wind swirls dead leaves across the woods and pavement. Perfect weather for a witch hunt, wouldn’t you say? And it’s a Salem-esque kind of witch hunt that’s happening across the American popular and political landscape these days, snagging Hollywood producers, actors, politicians, and Senate candidates from California to Washington, D.C. and any number of places in between.

Yep it seems as if no matter where you turn, some accuser is coming out of the woodwork pointing a crooked finger at yet another celebrity or politician. And no one is immune – former prez George H.W. Bush is accused of pinching fannies. Judge Roy Moore from Alabama? Why, he’s a creep with a fancy for teenage chicks when he was in his thirties. Charlie Sheen, young boys. George Takei, young men. Same thing with Kevin Spacey. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota? Well, he’s the biggest doofus to date, making the mistake of having his picture taken while fondling a sleeping woman’s breasts. What a moron! And now you’ve got Democrats turning a cold shoulder to none other than that loveable serial rapist and sex fiend Bill Clinton (never mind that just a year ago when his wife was running for President it was lips shut as far as the donkey party was concerned).

And no one knows where the bottle will stop next. I guarantee you there will be more politicians, especially after this story. Me? I’m waiting for the first male to come forward to say a major Hollywood actress or female Washington politician put the moves on him. After all, fair is fair, right?

But seriously, I find it both sad and amusing to see this country all of a sudden whipped into a froth over this kind of thing. On one hand, I have little doubt that men in positions of power and influence have tried to use same in ways that were less than morally upright. But for gawdsakes, this kind of thing has been happening since the beginning of time. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s the way it has always been. The Hollywood “casting couch” has been part of its culture since the first silent movies. Politicians have made moves on interns and secretaries since the earliest days of the Republic. There have always been, and will always be, sex scandals of one form or another. You put ambitious and successful men and ambitious or vulnerable women alone in the same room or at a gathering and you’ve got all the ingredients for hanky-panky. And it’s not just the guy’s fault either – if you don’t think women are attracted to power and influence and are willing to play the game and push the bounds of propriety in order to get noticed or get ahead, you’re dreaming.

I’m not saying everyone does it so it’s OK. And I’m not saying that there aren’t true victims out there who have been taken advantage of (at the very least) or sexually abused in some form (at the very worst) and, for whatever reason, chose not to stay silent until now out of a sense of shame, fear, or some form of retribution. But that being said, it’s all too easy in this day and age of social media and media saturation to just toss accusations out there from decades ago as a way to either destroy someone’s career, make a name for yourself, or feel better about yourself. In my view, if you don’t have any evidence that goes beyond “he said, she said” – well, you had your chance when the incident originally happened and said nothing then, so keep your trap shut. You got witnesses? Fine. But they too better have more than just anecdotal evidence that can’t be validated by a complaint to the authorities, or bona fide, documented evidence of some kind. Otherwise, you got nothing. The statue of limitations for keeping your mouth shut ran out a long time ago, so keep it shut.

It’s too easy to ruin another person’s reputation in this day and age. For one thing, the media in all its forms is all too happy to splay it everywhere to get clicks or ratings or to sell newspapers. And that’s especially true if you’re a Republican or a conservative. It may not be fair, but that’s just the way it works these days. So in this season of the witch (hunt) I just wish folks would stop and take a breath or think about what they’re about to accuse someone else of before they say anything. Using baseball as an analogy, you might want to throw your best pitch in high and tight, but don’t be surprised if it misses over the plate and comes rocketing back at your head. Everyone – and I mean everyone has skeletons in their closets, so a little discretion would go a long way.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 02:51 | Comments (0)
November 15, 2017

This is a picture of Bailey, one of my sister-in-law Tam’s rabbits who, along with her brother Midget Lee, comprise “The Ghurkins”. The Ghurkins are mini-lops, and they are a comical pair. Unlike our rabbits Marlie and Peach, they don’t kind of poke around their area, rather, they’ll stop, veg out for a time, then bolt off to whatever their next destination might be. With them nothing is done half-speed! The Ghurkins share their domain with Butterscotch, a “backyard bun” we got seven years ago as a result of a backyard rescue of (at that time) around fifty rabbits.

Butterscotch has had an interesting existence. We originally brought her home to a be a mate for our rabbit Geronimo who had recently lost his mate, Ginger. It took some time for the two to bond, but Butterscotch did a great job keeping “Mr. G.” company until he passed away less than a year later. We then gave Butterscotch to Tam, who at that time had her rabbits “The Beastie Boys”, Sherman and Cookie. They were starting to get up there in years and were very much bonded, so we figured Butterscotch could play the role of comforter in the event that one of the Beasties were to pass on. And sure enough, a year or so after Butterscotch moved in, Cookie died. It wasn’t more than a year later that Sherman too passed. Well, we couldn’t very well leave Butterscotch all alone, so when two mini-lops became available Tam, still broken-hearted over losing her long-time rabbits, did the right thing and brought them home. The Ghurkins love Butterscotch and Butterscotch loves The Ghurkins so it has all worked out and everyone’s happy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:25 | Comments (0)
November 14, 2017

I’d never been much of a fan of fiction in general. Like, ever. Biographies, autobiographies, and history from the real world has always been pretty much my choice when it came to reading. Sure, I got the entire Aubrey / Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian for Christmas two years ago, but that was more like historical fiction based on fact. (It’s been nearly two years later and I’m still not all the way through them; I think I’ve still got three books remaining!) This past January, however, I found myself facing a 5 1/2-hour flight back to Phoenix from Boston with nothing to read and nothing but a couple of crappy Hudson News stores at Logan Airport’s Terminal C to choose from. I couldn’t find anything that caught my fancy, but did find a piece of fiction called Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne White, a later book in his Doc Ford series of fiction.

Of course, anyone who knows The Great White Shank knows one way to grab his interest is to mention anything even remotely having to do with Cuba. And the fact the book was based in southwest Florida, on Sanibel Island – well, on a long flight back from cold New England to warm Arizona it seemed like the perfect way to pass the time. It turned out to be a fun read, so much so that upon arriving home I picked up the very first book in the series, Sanibel Flats and found that as equally enjoyable. I was hooked. I’ve now read 22 of the 24 books in White’s series. They’re not all great, there have been a snoozer or two amongst them, but all in all they’ve been a great way to spend time while soaking in a bubble bath or sitting with a glass of pinot grigio under happy pineapple lights. Sure beats watching TV, that’s for sure. So who is White’s Doc Ford character? From bookseriesinorder.com:

Marion “Doc” Ford started his career working for a small covert government agency as an agent and assassin. He was known for years as one of the best at tracking targets and eliminating them once they were found. But, while this might have been a career that he excelled at, it was also something that he was not entirely comfortable doing. He eventually quit to start a better life for himself.

Doc was always in love with the ocean and this is where he looked for his second career. He became trained as a marine biologist and set himself up to work in the quiet and uneventful community of Sanibel, Florida, focusing on doing research projects on environmental conservationism. Doc lives on a home right on the water and is known for being friendly and willing to help out others in the community. He also has a history with many different women but can’t seem to hold one down for very long. Like James Bond, there seems to be a new one around for each of his adventures.

One of the overriding themes in each of White’s books are the escape lifestyles of the people in Ford’s little fictional Dinkins Bay Marina and the mix of crime and corruption in Florida whenever old slow money and new fast money mix. Interestingly, there’s a character inspired by one of my all-time favorite Red Sox players, Bill “Spaceman” Lee who is Ford’s closest companion. In Doc Ford’s southwest Florida, the state truly is, as Boston radio talk-show host Howie Carr is wont to quip, “a sunshiney state for shady people.” Having performed a rescue mission on behalf of my sister-in-law several years ago that took me into the seedier side of St. Petersburg, I can certainly vouch for that!

If you’re in the market for some decent fiction with an interesting cast of characters and plots where you actually learn something about Florida’s past in each novel, I recommend Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series of adventures.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comments (0)
November 13, 2017

November is one of my favorite months. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s back home in Massachusetts or here in the Valley of the Sun, it is a special time of year in both places. Back home, November is a transitional month – the early part bright and shimmering, the clinging leaves of October waiting for that first cold wet gale that strips the trees bare; the latter part of the month gray and chilly, waiting for that first snowfall that inevitably puts a final stamp on autumn. The clocks go back early in the month, leaving folks a commute home from work in the dark.

I took the picture above up in Portsmouth in a state forest just off the salt marshes that wind their way down the coat between Portsmouth and Hampton Beach. You wouldn’t know it from the pic, but if you keep walking less than ten minutes ahead you’ll walk right onto Route 1! The forest is a place I like to visit whenever I’m back home, especially in the fall. In the warmth of a fall afternoon you could still hear plenty of crickets and chickadees and squirrels and chipmunks rusting under the fallen leaves.

Here in the Valley, we don’t turn our clocks back and the days are refreshingly warm. This year, the heat of summer was slow to retreat – we ought to be in the 70s by now but most days have seen us in the mid-80s. The nights have cooled down nicely, though, and it’s great to have the bedroom window open even if the room gets cool with the nights dropping into the low 60s by dawn. This time of year, the electric blue skies of summer are replaced by days where the sky is oftentimes filled with high clouds from storm systems passing far to our north that shimmer beneath a sun that still can show its teeth in the late afternoon. Like in Florida, November is a big month for the snowbirds, so the golf courses are just opening up now after being closed for weeks after the change from summer Bermuda grass to winter rye.

Typically, I’m spending my November weekends doing all sorts of cleanup out back after all the dirt and dust of the monsoon season, but work has been extra demanding and my to-do list is a mile long. But there are some minor tweaks I’ve been making with my golf swing that I really like, and with a weekend trip to Vegas coming up in three weeks I want to get some golf work and play in before that time. Which is OK, December around here is also a great month for working outside.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:43 | Comments (0)
November 12, 2017

About those Judge Roy Moore accusations: Maybe it’s just me, but I find it ironic (although not entirely unexpected) that the same mainstream media that knew and covered up “Hollywood Harvey” Weinstein’s behavior for years is now like a dog nipping at the pantleg of a Alabama judge over events that may or may not have occurred four decades ago. These people truly have no shame. Look, I don’t know whether the judge is telling the truth or not. Certainly there were statements during that Hannity interview that raised my eyebrows. Maybe he’s always had a preference for much younger women – don’t we all? :-) But the one thing I do know is that the mainstream media is a parasite and a cancer on this country that has to be destroyed. So here it is: if – and maybe that’s a big if – this is truly all they have on Judge Moore, rightly or wrongly, were I to live in Alabama, I’d crawl over broken glass to vote for him just to tell the mainstream media to you-know-what.

The Boston Celtics are a heck of an enjoyable team to watch play basketball right now.

Has the hockey season started yet?

Would love to see the Red Sox get Giancarlo Stanton. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but we can dream, can’t we?

I loves me some watching Greg Gutfeld’s show on FOX News Saturday nights. On Fridays it’s a combination of the MLB Network, Golf Channel, and Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. But on Saturday it’s Judge Jeanine and Kat, Tyrus, and whomever else Greg has visiting. My Dad likes them too!

Waiting for Democrats to condemn all these attacks on Republicans. Poor Rand Paul is just the latest. I guarantee you if a Trump supporter decided to rough up the likes of Chuck Schumer or Steny Hoyer we’d never hear the end of it.

If there’s an underrated Pink Floyd album it has to be Obscured By Clouds. Their last album before Dark Side of the Moon, it foreshadows that classic album with a pastiche of power-pop instrumentals and dreamy tunes. Worth checking out!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:06 | Comment (1)
November 11, 2017

The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?”
The Soldier squared his shoulders and
said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t
Because those of us who carry guns
Can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”
There was a silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God,
“Step forward now, you Soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.”

Hat tip: The Bert Show

Thank you to all our veterans, here and gone, for their service.

You want to see something truly humbling? The UK remembers its veterans on this day as well, and this puts it all in perspective. Even if you have no British relatives, please consider remembering someone. Hat tip: Instapundit.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:01 | Comments (0)
November 10, 2017

After a long week I needed a good laugh.

Thanks to a link at the Conservative Treehouse I got it. Pretty funny what folks can come up with these days.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 13:43 | Comments (0)
November 8, 2017

Those rumors about me being back turned out to be a bit premature. The house is turned upside down while Tracey recovers from her shoulder surgery and a couple of big projects have me working 12-hour days pretty much nonstop through the end of the month. Because the weather here is so nice right now (it only hit 80 today) I’m hoping to squeeze in a round of golf over the weekend before pushing the nose back to the grindstone next week. A blog is something you have to commit to, but priority-wise it’s a fair bit down on the list. A few quick items:

Congrats to President Trump on the one-year anniversary of his election and saving the country from at least four years of Hillary Clinton. Her whole campaign has turned out to be nothing more than a well-orchestrated sham on the part of the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are all excited about those big (and much-needed) wins down the ticket in Virginia on Tuesday, but Virginia has been trending blue over the years and you combine that with a dull and unimaginative candidate like Ed Gillespie, and it’s no wonder the folks in the red parts of the state couldn’t have been bothered to turn out for him. But elections do have consequences – Republicans are going to have an uphill fight against a motivated liberal/progressive electorate seeking to damage President Trump as much as they can. 2018 is gonna be an interesting year politically.

I love the choice of Alex Cora as Red Sox manager.

Looking forward to seeing what Tiger Woods looks like when he attempts to resurrect his professional golf career at his Hero World Challenge in early December. He’ll be playing the same weekend fellow Goodboy “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin are in Vegas for a few nights of escape from the real world. I can see myself sitting at the Wynn sports bet nursing a Bloody Mary or two while watching Tiger. Never been much of a fan of his, but I think it will be good for the sport to have him back.

Be back in a few days….

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:14 | Comments (0)
November 5, 2017

It’s been a while, I know but things have been crazy around here. First (as usual) I got sick after taking the plane flight home and it’s only today that I’ve been starting to feel halfway human again. Second, Tracey had major shoulder surgery (she fell off her bike a few months ago) and I’ve got Tam to nurse her and five bunnies in the house that need taking care of. Work has been a bitch as usual, so there’s been no time to even try and catch up with things.

It’s a shame to come back from an extended break with events like this but here are my thoughts:

1. Of course Democrats and the talking heads all over the cable networks will do their usual thing politicizing another gun massacre before the bodies are even cold. These people don’t just have any compassion, they are bloodless, soulless sons of bitches. Once again, it will be found that every gun control law on the books wouldn’t have prevented this guy from getting the weapons he used. But laws don’t matter to these folks unless their absence forwards their political agenda. Because to these people, politics is the only thing they think about.

2. Rather than focusing on the weapon(s) used in cases like this, shouldn’t we be having a meaningful dialog about the kind of people perpetrating these kinds of events? Who are they? What signals or messages were they sending out ahead of their actions? I guarantee people knew and said nothing to the authorities. In my view, you have to make examples of people who knew things and did nothing about it to make people understand it’s just not acceptable anymore to see something and not say something.

3. On a similar note, what kind of unbalanced person would do such a thing? How do they get to this point? I’d be more than happy to point a finger at the entertainment industry and the music industry and to the kind of violence they shovel at us on a daily basis. But if that were true there would be more of this kind of stuff. You can watch TV and listen to music and play video games and be able to separate fantasy from reality. This person had to have exhibited signs that would make him a person of interest.

4. To that end our law enforcement needs to get a whole lot smarter and upgraded. Sometimes a minor intervention can prevent a major atrocity from occurring.

5. It’s time public places start thinking about how to secure their premises with better security. I think not just about churches, but stores and supermarkets. I know it would entail greater costs, but you just can’t take a chance these days. I think of places like my local supermarket where people can just walk in and out as they please. Seems to me whether it’s security that is paid for or volunteered, anything you can do to reduce the chances of some rogue loony coming in and shooting up the place because they ran out of romaine lettuce is where we’re heading towards.

6. Makes you wonder what kind of upbringing the shooter had.

7. It’s a pretty damned lousy world we find ourselves living in when someone starts shooting up people worshipping in churches.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 18:51 | Comments (0)

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