February 17, 2018

I haven’t “weekended” in a while. A few thoughts about stuff goin’ on:

Of course, Florida governor Rick Scott is right: the director of the FBI needs to step down following revelations that the FBI was given plenty of heads-up about that high school shooter. The blood of at least seventeen high school teens is on the FBI’s hands and no one is going to do anything about it? The FBI’s priorities are totally warped. Had they been spending less time going after President Trump and doing the job they should be doing none of this would have happened. Time for the FBI to be disbanded. It’s corrupt from top to bottom, and people are dying needlessly because of it.

I wish Democrats were just as worried about the lives of babies killed out of the womb as they are about those killed by guns. Sorry, Senator Harris, but you’re a moron (no surprise there, being from California): murder is murder, no matter how you slice it.

Just my opinion, but most of this stuff going on nowadays is because of social media. What social media has done – and you can look at Twitter, Facebook, and sites like Twitchy – is to give nobodies an inflated sense of who they are and that their opinion matters. I got news for all you – it doesn’t. People can ignore or follow this blog – I don’t care one way or the other, honestly – but I never think that I’m any more than one guy with an opinion. It’s like they say, opinions are just like a$$holes – everyone’s got one. But when you start cultivating followers and think you have an audience that is waiting with baited breath on every nonsensical and moronic comment you think is important, then in my view that’s a problem.

…which is why the time has come to arrest anyone who makes any kind of threats of any kind against anyone on social media. Period. And I’m talking zero tolerance here. No one’s freedom of speech includes the threat to harm people.

What social media does is give all these attention-seeking wackos out there who are nothing but blackheads on the face of humanity a reason to play copycat and feel important by taking their anger out on the lives of innocents. There’s a sickness in this society, and you can blame liberalism for it. The idea of God and sin and boundaries and a culture of life has been replaced by soullessness, evil, emptiness, and a culture of death.

My generation of baby boomers have taken the whole idea of “if it feels good it must be right” and passed it on to the next generation to the extreme. This whole transgender bull$hit thing that’s going on is just one example of it. The whole idea of needing to carve out a unique identify for yourself because you don’t like the one God gave you is the ultimate sacrifice of one’s self on the altar of self-importance and narcissism. You look at what’s going on at the college campuses and wackos shooting up schools simply to make a statement about their own anger, isolation, and loneliness are all the same thing: it’s about the importance of how you feel about yourself and the hell with everyone else. It’s a sick society, and I hate to say it, but nothing better is coming down the pike. It’s evil, hedonism, and the individual self no matter how extreme that this country now celebrates.

…and you can’t eliminate Hollywood and the progressive-entertainment industry complex as a cause and effect. Hollywood loves gun control but has no problem with splattering blood all over its films. And you put impressionable young people and realistic video games in front of people with access to guns and what’s the logical next step?

It’s all very sad to me. You look at the state of this country and you realize it’s never going back to the way it once was. I’m glad I’m 62 because I don’t want to live in a world like this where I’ve got more sunrises than sunsets. It just bothers me that when I’m older and more decrepit and am inside some health-care facility and need my bedpan emptied that some pimply dope will ignore me because he’s texting his entire shift away on his stupid iPhone or whatever is around at the time, thinking that everything he’s tossing out on the Internet actually matters.

On a lighter note, watched Tiger Woods hack his way around another course today and miss the cut. Golf Channel might be afraid to call Tiger out, but I won’t: he’s got two-way misses off the tee and at his age won’t be able to grind it around a course for four rounds depending on his short game and his putter. Maybe on some wide-open tracks in Florida he can get away with that schtick, but not on most of the PGA TOUR event courses, and certainly not on courses where majors are played. And most certainly not with the reams of talent that’s out there.

And I can’t leave this post without thinking that maybe Bob Marley had the right idea: kick back, smoke a bone, and just watch the palm trees sway while thinking about your relationship with Jah.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:37 | Comments (0)
February 15, 2018

…being on a Beatles kick lately, if you want to just let loose you can’t do much worse than these:

Paul McCartney’s “Smile Away” from 1971′s Ram. Great song, great album. The bass line absolutely smolders.

George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” from All Things Must Pass. Total Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production. That’s George on the slide throughout and Eric Clapton playing wah-wah guitar and sharing licks with George during the instrumental break.

John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” and “I don’t Want To Be A Soldier” from 1971′s Imagine. Both feature stinging George Harrison leads, BTW…

McCartney’s “Give Ireland To The Irish” is a great piece of garage grunge that I wish he did a lot more of.

It’s kind of amazing to look back on the first years after the Beatles’ break-up and see the Fabs operating at such a high level. These were all great albums, easily in the top 100 of all-time.

…but now I’m starting to think about other songs that I think are worthy of blowing a speaker:

The Guess Who’s “Star Baby” from 1974′s Road Food, which absolutely rocks…

…as does “Heartbroken Bopper” From 1972′s very underappreciated Rockin’! Man, could Kurt Winter play some axe. Just as worthy as Randy Bachman, in my opinion.

…and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sweet Hitchhiker” from 1972′s Mardi Gras.

…And how about Badfinger’s 1970 smash “No Matter What”. Man, I just love that tune.

..and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” from Rumours goes without saying. It’s a bravado band performance with Mick Fleetwood’s drums, Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar solo, and Stevie Nicks’ harmonies top notch.

…and “Seven Wonders” From Tango In The Night” is as good as it gets. And the raccoon eyes featured by Christine McVie in the video are awesome!

…Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” from 1977′s Animals has one of the great outros ever with those David Gilmour bone-crushing chords.

…and Gilmour’s guitar intro to “Learning To Fly” is a great riff, no matter how you slice it.

And how could you not include Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and “Powderfinger” from 1979′s Live Rust? Two absolute classics. The latter’s line, “So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin’” cuts very deep right now as far as my dad’s situation is concerned. I live it each day.

Play them all loud and you won’t be disappointed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comment (1)
February 14, 2018

So we’re just about halfway through February and I’m living dual existences. Last week it was Massachusetts and snow-covered ground and below-freezing temps (at least at night). This week it’s Arizona with the pool, the palm trees, and a dry winter that shows little sign of getting wet anytime soon. Next week it’s back to Massachusetts again, and this time I guarantee I won’t forget to bring my black leather jacket! It’s pretty bad when you show up in Massachusetts in mid-winter having to borrow a coat from one of your friends.

But isn’t that what friends are for? Thanks Paul!

We have it so easy here. I walked down to the mailbox at the end of the street Monday night in my bare feet, lounge pants and a T-shirt. No dirt, slush, or cold concrete beneath my feet. No need to grab a coat. Not even a passing thought about ice or falling on your ass. There was a breeze rustling the palms, and the waterfowl in the lake on the other side of our subdivision wall chattered under the gray skies. Just something you would take for granted if you weren’t careful. I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.

Our feathery acacia bush on the west side of the house is always the harbinger of spring. It has its first blooms, so spring has gotta be on its way.

Visited the doctor today, he didn’t like the way I looked or sounded. He’s now got me on a new regimen of antibiotics and some kind of steroid, and I have to get my chest X-rayed. Lots of fluids and bed rest as well. Which is good, because I really can’t keep living like this. I’ve had the flu in the past, but the cough and shakiness have never lasted this long. All I can say is, while my relationship with my work has changed there’s still nothing like working out of your own home. It’s been hard to stay focused at work, and when I lay down in the afternoon for a nap it’s like I haven’t slept in days. If I was working out of an office I couldn’t do that, that’s for sure!

I’m looking forward to the Red Sox starting up. Although I don’t know much about their new manager, Alex Cora, just the thought of no more “Manager John” Farrell is enough to make me feel optimistic. Sure, the Yankees are loaded this year, but championships are seldom, if ever, won on paper.

I’ll admit to having watched none of the Winter Olympics, and I don’t plan to. Just watching the Yahoo! News of the day and everything being made political and anti-Trump makes me sick. The amount of disrespect to the Prez and his VP Mike Pence is a disgrace. Whether you liked or voted for Trump or not, he’s the President and the office should be respected. I never liked Barack Obama or his taxpayer-mooching wife, but I would never show either of them disrespect. That shows a lack of taste, class, and appreciation – all qualities our country and culture seem to have forgotten. Not to mention the lack of simple manners.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my generation, the so-called “Boomers” have ruined everything they have touched. You can look at the generation that came before us and, even with their deficiencies, had far more sense of proportion and dignity than my generation has. And we’ve not ruined just about everything we’ve touched, we’ve created a generation of spoiled monsters and precious snowflakes who don’t and won’t know anything about the values and traditions that made this country what it is because my generation has polluted their pointy heads will all this fairness, tolerance and social equality bullshit. Just my two cents’ worth…

A happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers and loves out there, whomever and wherever you may be. A big HVD to my wonderful wife Tracey!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:06 | Comments (0)
February 12, 2018

Sure, I could be talking about that fab George Harrison hit, but in this case I’m talking about life as it is lived when it is lived. Was talking to my neighbor John who just took a boatload of cash in selling his house to move thirty minutes east of here to be closer to their grandchildren. He’s 66 and he’s telling me there’s really nothing good on the horizon – sure, he can play a little golf and spend some time with the grandkids, but his parents both had Alzheimer’s and he’s planning to call it quits as your everyday handyman next year because his knees ache and his back aches, and he doesn’t recover as quickly now as he did even a year or two ago.

“So what keeps you going?”, he asks me.

“I used to like my job but it’s no longer fun and the people I work for are a bunch of incompetents at best and two-faced assholes at worst.”, says I.

“So what do you do now?”

“Well, I got a great wife and friends who care about me, but otherwise I don’t know.”

See here’s the thing: when my mom was alive there were things to consider in everything you did. For her, family came first and making her happy made me happy. Now she’s gone and it seems to me that the whole bottom of my existence has been yanked from under me. Don’t get me wrong: in some ways it’s a burden off my back that I never asked to have put on me and never really liked. But making her happy made me happy – being the oldest that’s just what you do. So is having that yoke removed a good thing or a bad thing? It’s really neither. It’s just the way it is.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there’s a great emptiness that I can’t get rid of. Or the sense that at 62 years there’s not a whole lot of good that’s going to come down the pike, at least health-wise. I mean, I look at me right now. I can’t even get rid of this crap in my sinuses or in my chest that’s been nagging me for a month now. Granted, it’s a great way to lose ten pounds, but I’m tired of feeling like crap and I can’t go to the gym hacking my brains out – they’d look at me as if I had the plague. I have the worst nightmares, and I can’t even hit a dozen balls without wheezing. So it’s back to the quack tomorrow for the third time.

I’ve lost my desire for golf and can’t even stand to look at my clubs. There’s a little PTSD going on there, for sure – every time I pick up a club I think of being in Vegas and getting called by work, and I can almost feel my skin getting rashed and my speech slurred again. I just can’t deal with it right now. Can’t even watch it on TV without starting to feel the heebie-jeebies coming on. So I might just leave the clubs on the sidewalk, say the hell with it, and tell the Goodboys to go on without me. They’ll do OK.

Fortunately, I’ve found a great deal of solace in George Harrison’s Living In The Material World – a classic in every sense of the word – most especially “Be Here Now” and “That Is All” with its memorable lyric:

Silence often says much more than
trying to say what’s been said before

I guess the whole point of this post is that there is no point to it at all. It’s a warm night, the wind chimes are working overtime in the southerly breeze, and it was nice enjoying a pinot grigio while watching the clouds slide south to north overhead. I’m living in a state of limbo that I’ll simply wait patiently to pass. Is it a “dark night of the soul”, as my man St. John of the Cross called it? I look at the kinds of decisions we’re trying to make for my dad and see in them only the kind of decisions waiting to be made for me twenty years down the line. You think twenty years is a long time, but I can remember clearly what was going on in my life back in 1998 – we were getting ready to move to Louisville – and it doesn’t seem very long ago at all to me. Fact is, twenty years from now everything will be gone – perhaps more than I can imagine right now – and there will little point in any of it. But I’ll still soldier on.

Harrison was right in one very simple and straight-forward observation about life: all things, must indeed, pass. And, as he so eloquently sang, Beware of Darkness. Because that’s where it’s at right now.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:00 | Comments (0)
February 8, 2018

It’s been a long, hard slog since the last post. First I got the flu which has – as it has the past two years – into bronchitis. Then my dad got sick. We’re not exactly sure what happened, whether it was a minor stroke or pneumonia, or something else, but he ended up in the hospital and spent a few days in a rehab facility before being released last Sunday. He’s back to his normal self, thank you, but as a result I’ve spent the last week here in wintry Massachusetts, where I’ve been reintroduced the joys of snow-covered grounds, snow piles left over from earlier storms, and the obligatory streets and sidewalks covered with every form of sand, dirt, and grit known to mankind.

During this time, my dear (and the legendary) Auntie Marge – who would on occasion toss up a comment or two at this site if a post tweaked her interest – passed away. She’s wasn’t in the greatest health when my mom passed away back in June of 2016, but mom’s passing hurt her deeply and brought a great sadness into her life. Not sure what there is over the other side, but I’d like to think Mom would have been waiting for Auntie to cross over so she could greet her with a big hug. Of the two sisters, Auntie was the one who was the most gregarious and artistic, almost larger than life to us kids when we were growing up. I remember her writing poems about the Red Sox in 1967 and the Bruins in 1970 and seeing them published in the Lowell Sun (which I thought was very cool). Auntie also served as the creative muse behind a decade-plus of Masonic Lodge variety shows back in the late ’70s and ’80s. There wasn’t a movie from the forties to mid-fifties that she didn’t know the entire cast of, or a popular sing from that era that she didn’t know who the artist was. She helped start and run a travel agency and went places around the world that her parents could only have dreamed of. It’s sad to see her pass, but she lived a full and good life, and that’s about all you ask for these days.

Of course, being here in Massachusetts during Super Bowl week was kind of fun, and being able to watch the SB with my dad was fun even if the Pats lost.

Today, Dad and I are going to focus on exploring the next stop for him, living-wise. He’d like to downsize, so we’re checking into various options that might be available to him in the near future. Tomorrow I’ll be hopping a flight back to Phoenix where I hope to be put on another antibiotics regimen to get rid of this damned bronchitis. But I won’t be back for long – in less than two weeks I’ll be back here for Auntie’s wake and funeral; by that time we might have a better idea of what Dad’s next plans are.

And, of course, work is work. The “Great Crisis”, by and large, has passed but there’s all kinds of residual stuff going on, and there are some work relationships that will never be the same. But that’s OK, that’s someone else’s problem, not mine.

Hopefully there will be less distance between this and the next post than since my last one. We’ll see!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 06:27 | Comments (5)

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