September 27, 2018

1. The Ryder Cup. On the surface one has to think the Americans ought to be heavily favored. This might just be one of, if not the, most talented teams ever assembled. Lots of young guys who thirst for the spotlight. And with Europe, is there anyone besides Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari that scares you right now? Rory McIlroy certainly doesn’t, and neither of the others do. I won’t be watching – I’ve got too many other things to do – but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Americans win in a rout.

2. The 2109 schedule. Man, talk about compressing your entire season into just six months! I can see a greater likelihood that someone who, say, comes out of The Players Championship (no, I’m not going to capitalize all the letters as the PGA Tour does), really hot could then run off a string of majors in short order.

3. Justin Thomas. Have to admit he’s looked a little listless and sloppy at times this year. But one has to remember that he’s still a (at least in PGA Tour terms) a kid, and he’s still learning his craft. I fully believe that in five years’ time he’ll have racked up at least three more majors and will be the dominant American player. And there aren’t many guys I know who could pull off wearing pink.

3. Jordan Spieth. Could it all have come a little too easily too early for Jordan? I love his game, but there’s something going on there that if he doesn’t get a handle on it he runs the risk of becoming a has-been at a very early age.

4. The problem is that there’s too damned much money out there. Think about it: you’re 24 years old and rich beyond your wildest dreams. And in this day and age on the PGA Tour you don’t even have to win to make oodles of dough-re-mi. It would take someone with a very high level of discipline and maturity not to let it get away from him after achieving so much success so early in his professional career.

5. Rory McIlroy. See #4 above.

6. Dustin Johnson. It’s obvious the guy has game and can hit the ball a long way. But I sense no killer instinct there, no desire to refine his game to the point where any one would fear him. Sure, the guy will make a pile of money any given season (and maybe that’s good enough for him), but in my view he’s wasting his talent. Maybe those rumors of issues in his marriage with Paulina Gretzky have something to do with it.

7. Rickie Fowler. Think Dustin Johnson without all the rumors that have dogged Johnson over the years. On the surface Rickie is squeaky-clean, and perhaps that’s true. But methinks between the money, the fame, and his character he doesn’t possess that killer instinct you need to start out hot at a major, then put your foot on the necks of the rest of the field to grab his little piece of immortality. He’s a nice player and fun to watch, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who can come from behind and snag that major by going super low on Sunday. I hope I’m wrong – would love to see it happen.

8. Phil Mickelson. I think that win in Mexico will turn out to be his last hurrah, both in terms of his game and he being the ultimate fan fave. That act he pulled at Shinnecock gave his reputation a hit (he should have either been disqualified or, more appropriately, DQ’d himself after the round ended), and his game is all over the place. He’s had a good run, but time catches up to everyone no matter how good you are.

9. Tiger Woods. And the same will happen to Tiger. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s going to get injured again – it’s a virtual guarantee. His body was old before his back surgery, and nothing has changed since then. This is a very good run for Tiger – perhaps he can keep it up for another year or two or three – but no matter how hard he works out it is unreasonable to expect him to maintain his level of play over the past month for an entire season.

10. That being said, I could see him peel off a major or two over the next few years. There are still significant headwinds facing him – the number of great players out there, his health and age, etc., but I’ll admit I never expected to see him playing at the level he has been again. So maybe all the fawning attention Golf Channel has been foisting on him all year is warranted. After all, Tiger just doesn’t move the needle as far as professional golf is concerned, he IS the needle.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:53 | Comments Off on 10 Thoughts on the PGA Tour Season Now Complete
September 25, 2018

Took this pic late Sunday afternoon after rearranging the faux flowers bent all to hell by the summer dust storms and added a couple of “dead” leaves on the table to give it a fall kind of feel with the late afternoon sun on the palm trees in back. Nice, huh? BTW, that’s a half-finished Hemingway daiquiri providing the mood – it’s my go-to drink of late.

Since I posted that recipe seven years ago I’ve tweaked the ingredients some, primarily because Oronoco rum is no longer manufactured and my replacement rum of choice, Olo silver seems a tad sweeter than the Oronoco was. Or perhaps I just like my Hemingways a little on the tart side:

1 1/2 oz. Olo silver Rum
1/2 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1/2 fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz. sweet syrup

Chill your martini glass in the freezer for ten minutes so that when poured you get little ice crystals for the first few sips. That’s key. Squeeze a small slice of lime for presentation, then delight in that lovely, unique gold-melon color provided by the grapefruit juice.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 18:27 | Comments Off on Afternoon Mood
September 24, 2018

Fall arrived in the Valley of the Sun as quiet as a mouse. The temperatures are still in the triple digits, but the heat god is ready to swip the flitch in two weeks and we’ll begin that joyful period known as “Arizona winter”. You can get all the stores and residents are gearing up for the first arrivals of the snowbirds from Canada and the Midwest – with the booming economy folks have more money in their pockets to spend.

Funny how you don’t hear much about that in the mainstream media…

A big congratulations to Tiger Woods for winning the Tour Championship (though not the FedEx Cup, won by Justin Rose). Like him or not, you have to respect the way he has come back from whatever injury he has come back from. (Supposedly he had discs fused together in his back, but I long ago learned to distrust and reject anything Woods’s management team ever announced publicly.) You have to tip your hat to the guy and the way he played this past weekend. Greatest comeback ever? I’m not ready to commit to that. I still believe the guy is a walking time bomb physically, and besides, while winning tournaments at this stage of his life and career has to be rewarding, they aren’t majors. Let’s see what happens 6 1/2 months from now at Augusta.

Now why am I not surprised?

A comprehensive new study on cholesterol, based on results from more than a million patients, could help upend decades of government advice about diet, nutrition, health, prevention, and medication. Just don’t hold your breath.

The study, published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, centers on statins, a class of drugs used to lower levels of LDL-C, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, in the human body. According to the study, statins are pointless for most people.

“No evidence exists to prove that having high levels of bad cholesterol causes heart disease, leading physicians have claimed” in the study, reports the Daily Mail. The Express likewise says the new study finds “no evidence that high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol cause heart disease.”

The study also reports that “heart attack patients were shown to have lower than normal cholesterol levels of LDL-C” and that older people with higher levels of bad cholesterol tend to live longer than those with lower levels.

This is probably news to many in government. But it’s not news to everyone.

Damned straight on that. I’ve been saying all along it’s all in the genes, baby.

My take on the whole David Kavanaugh / sexual abuse thing: unlike those freaking out on the various blogs I frequent, I’m confident Charles Grassley knows what he’s doing. I’m guessing his fellow GOP sens Flake, Murkowski, and Collins are insisting Christine Ford given a legitimate chance to tell her story before they’ll commit to voting in Kavanaugh’s favor. I’m in the same boat with them. Grassley has given her the opportunity on Thursday. If she appears she can tell her story and Kavanaugh can give his. If she doesn’t show, or (what I think will happen) her lawyers ask for another extension, it will be clear by then that they don’t have anything to testify to, and Grassley can then state he gave them every chance possible.

But she’s not going to show, and you know why? Because her lawyers knew that additional women with even shadier stories were going to come forward over the weekend. And because Grassley is going to consider these new women and their stories one step above bullshit – I mean, how obvious is the Democrats’ game plan right now? – they can say that they’re not being respected as victims, etc. etc. etc. and they’ll never get a fair hearing so of course they’ll decline to show.

You might ask yourself why the Democrats would stoop to such a thing, but you have to understand that abortion and the killing of the unborn is at the heart of their religion and the god they worship; therefore, any threat to that religion has to be confronted in any way, manner, shape or form possible. What is happening to Kavanaugh here is nothing more than a 21st century, high-tech lynching. And it is guaranteed to blow up in the Democrats’ faces. Because, in the end, this is all they have.

The European Tour always posts such cool videos. Here you’ve got a few of their stars playing with 1930s equipment.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:48 | Comments Off on Monday Musings
September 21, 2018

It was time.

For the past several months, I’d been batting around the idea of cleaning out all the books and artifacts associated with the eight-year stretch (1994-2002) seeking ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. The books have been just sitting there for the fifteen years (has it really been that long??) we’ve been out here in the Valley of the Sun with all my other, more recent books piling up in cabinets out in the garage. There were also pictures on the wall, palms from Easters long past, crosses, artifacts, linens in every color of the Church Year that once adorned the table I used for my prayer table, and incense and candles. The books, in addition to a half-dozen Bibles, are from those whom I saw (and still consider) as giants in terms of their spirituality and pedigree: St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Julian of Norwich, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Michael Ramsey, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel, among others, and all kinds of books on Anglican spirituality and history. All great stuff, my literary companions of whom I drank so deeply those many years ago.

It took nearly two hours to go through everything. Everything I touched seemed to conjure up memories of Massachusetts and our time in Kentucky. Their very covers reminded me of places and experiences from long ago (although, I guess, not that long ago at least in terms of physical time, but in terms of space, absolutely) – retreats I would undertake at the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York, sitting alone in their chapels for hours on end, meditating, praying, and allowing myself to emptied into the Presence of Christ.

In emptying my bookshelves I found it hard to reconcile my sense of calling to he priesthood then and how I look at it now. I still believe the sense of calling was real – and there were plenty of folks who affirmed that calling in a variety of ways – but whether it was to be a parish priest or not, it’s now hard to say. I do know that, had I been ordained, I would have been a damned good priest no matter what I ended up doing, but there comes a time when you have been so been and bruised by the process that perhaps self-preservation sets in and you have to get over it and move on.

It was a time I’ll never forget. I don’t really feel any regrets one way or the other. Things just happen for a reason and you either accept them and move on, or allow yourself to live the rest of your life filled with bitterness and resentment. In some ways, it probably turned out for the best because the Episcopal Church of twenty years ago is now long gone, having long been taken over by feminists and the LGBTQ community. You might not to hear that, but the facts are facts. You look at all the things that today’s Episcopal Church stands for in terms of priorities and mission, and you see the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit replaced with a new trinity of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity. No wonder the Church is declining in membership, it’s once-great churches that were pillars in the community now mere shadows of what they once were in terms of members. The full-time parish priest is increasingly a thing of the past – as outmoded as Polaroid cameras. And it’s not just the Episcopal Church – you can look at the rolls and see the same thing happening in the Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches as well. Someone with my background and theology would have been like a salmon constantly swimming upstream against the tide and times that wait for no man.

So perhaps it’s just as well that things turned out the way they did. At any rate, it’s all good. My new problem is what to do with all the stuff I have. The Bibles I think I can find a home or – there are always organizations looking to distribute Bibles to folks in need across the world. I’ve sent some e-mails out to various seminaries and monasteries but no one seems to want them. I sure don’t want any of this stuff to get thrown in the trash – especially my religious artifacts. I may not need them anymore but they are still precious to me. I’m actually thinking of having a religion/spirituality yard sale and see what kind of luck I’d have. I might be surprised to see what happens.

In a year filled with so many transitions and turning the pages, it just seems natural that it’s time to turn my own page, in a very special and personal way.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:49 | Comments Off on Transitions
September 20, 2018

I find this story amazing. Maybe the folks at Superstition Springs Golf Club will offer him a consulting gig – with the loss of water having them to redesign holes they could use it!

I’m OK with everyone and their brother investigating the charges against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh as long as Democrats equally agree to investigate rape charges against Bill Clinton and abuse charges against congressman and Minnesota Attorney General candidate Keith Ellison. I won’t hold my breath…

I’m not optimistic about the Red Sox chances in the post-season. Sure, they could run up the score against the awful American League East, but I’m not sure they’re built for the playoffs. Personally, my money is on the Cleveland Indians and the Houston Astros.

Here’s the optics problem for Democrats:

Grassley has offered Ford a public hearing, a closed-door hearing, and even to send investigators to her to gather evidence if the idea of coming to Washington is uncomfortable. Trump enemies like Jeff Flake and Bob Corker have done everything they could to signal to Ford and her liberal friends that if she shows up on Monday and seems sincere, there’s a good chance they’ll vote to blow Kavanaugh up. Democrats had two farking months to push this accusation and demand an extended hearing, which the calendar easily would have accommodated. Instead they engineered an ambush, after Kavanaugh’s hearing had already concluded, to try to drive him into a ditch before the vote. As of this afternoon, Feinstein still hadn’t given Grassley a complete copy of Ford’s July letter. There are a lot of things about this process that look like a “sham” but Grassley’s hearing isn’t one of them.

You can’t all of a sudden send a letter with nefarious charges against a Supreme Court nominee, then hide behind your lawyer and the very Democrats seeking to torpedo his nomination by refusing to appear at a hearing designed to hear those very same charges. And don’t get me started on the request for a FBI investigation: the FBI wouldn’t touch something that supposedly occurred 35 years ago, under local jurisdiction. Anyone (including Ford’s lawyer) knows this. Hint to Senator Feinstein: if you’re going to sabotage a Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee, try to find someone who at least knows where, when, and how the sexual abuse she claims happened, happened.

In the end, this will be seen as a gamble where the Democrats rolled the dice thinking that the same thing that happened to Roy Moore would work with Kavanaugh. Instead, I guarantee this is all going to backfire on the Democrats, and in a big way. Even casual observers are now going to see this as just another example of Democrats in Washington for what they really are.

…hint to CNN: If this is the best you can do

The Patriots looked awful against the Jacksonville Jaguars this past Sunday, but you don’t learn much from football played in September. Let’s see where everything – and everyone – stands come the first week of December.

Question: is there a dumber U.S. senator than New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand? I don’t think so. Compared to her, Dianne Feinstein is Henry Clay.

…and speaking of dumb, can we all agree that Hillary Clinton should just go away. I read stories like this and can only imagine the nightmare of a life this bitter, old hag is living. Frankly, she deserves it. Politically speaking, she’s the political equivalent of herpes.

Olivia Newton-John did a lot of great songs, but this is my favorite. A truly great and innovative arrangement – something I blogged about, BTW, years ago.

Silly me, I thought liberals were all about tolerance, acceptance and diversity.

Dead senator walking. Come six weeks, she’s toast.

Just evidence that there are dickheads in management everywhere, not just at my company. People like them have no soul, no humanity. They suck. Avoid them at all cost, lest you lose your own soul in the process.

Music to make you cry. Ennio Morricone’s music to Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West” has gotten well-deserved accolades over the years, but no one has sung “Jill’s Theme” as beautifully as Patricia Janeckova did back in 2012. If I have this played at my funeral (whenever that is) it would be one helluva way to go out. It is a true “life song” of mine.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:48 | Comments Off on Thursday Thoughts
September 17, 2018

…as in, gone like yesterday. Sure, the temperatures here in the Valley of the Sun are still in the low 100s, but that’s soon gonna change, the sun’s angle is all askew, the shadows showing their length even at the noon hour, regardless of the heat. Most symbolically, I just opened my last Sam Adams Summer Ale of the year. After this it will likely be a mix of Octoberfest and Boston Lagers for a month or two before the Winter Lager starts drifting in.

This has been an unusual summer. Stressful, emotional, lots of sense of endings more so than beginnings (even though there have been a few of them as well). Of course, the whole process of moving my dad to his new retirement community digs has been a focal point, but I sense in my own way, whether it be at work, or the Goodboys, or just life in general, a change in philosophy, a realization that it’s all going away and I need to prepare for my own next phase of life. I’m not sure exactly what that all means, but I feel it coming in its own personal way.

Perhaps it’s just the realization that there is no longer a “place” for me anymore in Massachusetts: after all, my folks’ second bedroom was always a home away from home, a place I could just check into and out of whenever the spirit moved me, knowing I’d be welcomed there with open arms to hang around with my peeps. Now that’s gone. Whenever I go back now I’ll be no different than anyone else traveling back to that part of the country. Sure, I can grab a spot at my dad’s community guesthouse or a nearby hotel, but either way I’ll be paying for it and living there as a stranger. In other words, no more “home away from home”. It’s all gone.

Summer’s gone
Summer’s gone away
Gone away
With yesterday

Old friends have gone
They’ve gone their separate ways
Our dreams hold on
For those who still have more to say

Summer’s gone
Gone like yesterday
The nights grow cold
It’s time to go
I’m thinking maybe I’ll just stay

Summer’s gone
It’s finally sinking in
One day begins
Another ends
I live them all and back again

Summer’s gone
I’m gonna sit and watch the waves
We laugh, we cry
We live then die
And dream about our yesterday

Brian Wilson’s words pretty much sum up my life right now. What is left to say? What is left to do? Everything I’ve known and loved has changed, and not for the better. Whether it be at work this past year, or the past two Goodboys weekends, or my extended family since my mom and my Auntie Marge passed away, there’s just the sense that there’s nothing much left of my past and no point in wondering why or how that is. It’s just the passage of time. I recently – finally! – cleaned out all my religious books and artifacts from the mid-90s to the early 2000s (more on that in a later post). I’m sixty-two years old, five years or less from retirement, and then what? I guess what I’m saying is it might be time to find a new philosophy, outlook, and regimen. A new gig. A new self-identity.

But that all just sounds too complicated right now. For now, it’s good enough to enjoy the last Summer Ale of the year, think about all the things I’ve accomplished in helping my dad out, and try to focus on getting myself and my team disengaged from “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. My goal is to be done with those clowns before my trip to Vegas the first weekend of December (when the $hit initially hit the fan last year and my last time there), and then just float my way through a hopefully-uneventful holiday season. Then maybe with the New Year and perhaps a fresh slate, think about what I want to accomplish in 2019. Maybe big changes, maybe not. Who knows, after all, what the future holds?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:35 | Comments Off on Summer’s Gone
September 15, 2018

An unusually hot weekend for this time of year, but there are hopes that the long-term forecast shows us dropping below the century mark in temperatures late next week. Even more interesting is Joe Bastardi over at dropping hints about a tropical system potentially affecting us in 2-3 weeks time. We shall see. In the meantime…

I have to say that I am really enjoying the Travis McGee series of novels by John D. MacDonald. What I find myself really enjoying is his retro attitude towards females, before before the women’s lib movement paved the way to all the damned stupid political correctness and LGBTQRSUVWXYZ movement that has turned our culture into an insane asylum. In MacDonald’s books, the women are no different than the men: they are conniving, sex-starved, lost, flighty, unfaithful, and as systematically corrupt as their male counterparts. There’s no pedestal in MacDonald’s novels, neither should there be. The women’s lib movement always wanted it both ways: on one hand they’re supposed to be equal to men in every way, yet when there’s sexual harassment they’re too weak as a species to do anything but create a #metoo movement. Please.

The biggest problem with the women’s movement is that they sold their soul to the issue of abortion on demand. If you need further evidence of chat you need only hear Chelsea Clinton’s recent comments on abortion. Y’know, I always tried to keep poor Chelsea out of things – after all, when you are the child of a rapist and the most vile and repulsive woman God ever created, you want to try and allow them a little slack. But in this case she’s revealed herself to be nothing more than a village idiot on “women’s issues”. My recommendation is that she runs for political office – she’s perfect for what goes as the Democratic Party these days. What a friggin’ moron.

I have to say, I don’t see the last-ditch attempt by California senator Dianne “Chinese Spy” Feinstein to abort the selection of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court doing the Democrats any good. I mean, how many times can you go to the well with anonymous, unsubstantiated rumors about sexual misconduct by a Republican or conservative before you are completely tuned out? If this is the best the Democrats have they need to find another playbook.

Now that we’re heading into October, expect every day to see polls saying this or that – primarily that this Republican or that Republican is in trouble. The fact that these clowns continue to perpetuated headlines given their abysmal record in 2016 ought to tell you one thing: the pollsters don’t know shit. Given the political climate we find ourselves in, do you really think if I were polled I’d express my support for President Trump? Given the crap I put up with from – ahhh, never mind, think I’ll stop here before I say something I might later regret.

Y’all might not be able to handle the truth, but regardless of what the mainstream media says, Trump was right about Puerto Rico.

Were I Julian Assange I’d have round-the-clock bodyguards. Politically speaking, (and literally so when it comes to the Clintons) he knows where all the bodies are buried.

John F. “Did you know I served in Vietnam?” Kerry: once a traitor, always a traitor.

I know everyone is all excited about Tiger Woods and his future; I just can’t escape the nagging feeling that he’s going to get hurt again and that will be that. Sure, he’s had a great year – surpassing everyone’s expectations, for sure – but it’s not as if his health history all of a sudden became moot.

People always question the sanity of folks who insist on riding hurricanes out, but the nasty truth is that they are doing it and putting their lives at risk because of looters. I’ll refrain comment about the racial aspects involved…

To me this is a news item that deserves more attention, given the amount of people that lives in the Southwest and the West. And given that it’s the 21st century and we’re creating robot bartenders, one would think we have the technology and know-how to bring plentiful water to this vital region. I guarantee some budding genius 14 year-old has already got it figured out.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:20 | Comments Off on Weekending
September 14, 2018

I’m back from Massachusetts just in time to settle in to that awkward period here in the Valley of the Sun known as post-monsoon. The clouds over the mountains to the east, north, and south have completely disappeared – retreating back to wherever they came from in early July, the sky returning to that shimmering phosphorescent blue of pre-monsoon June. The temperatures are back to the low-to-mid 100s, the witching hour of 3-4 PM back to its, well, former witchiness. The forecasters say we’ve got one more week in the 100s before the daily temps drop below the century mark in the drift towards October.

Back in Massachusetts the signs of fall are everywhere: the Sam Adams Summer Ale has turned into Octoberfest. The trees there are starting towards their own silent, evolutionary timelines – some shedding of leaves, others displaying that whitish shade of foliage when the light is just right. Still others actually starting to turn into early oranges and yellows. The nights are cooler and the dew heavier, the humidity making up for the early summer heat in its own different way.

Not here, though. The palm trees rustle in the soft wind that now comes in from the southwest or west instead of the south or southeast. The bougainvillea is just as bright and full as it has been all year. The days, of course, are noticeably shorter: my 7 AM calls with the India team require the light to be turned on in the office room; I no longer have to slightly shut the plantation shutters as the sun comes over my neighbor’s roof to our east – its angle is now lower and delayed so that I don’t have to touch the shutters at all.

And it seems that the relationship between my boss and me has survived “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless”. For the first time in like nine or ten months, on our weekly call today he seemed much like his old self, joking, asking for input, being, like, a human being again. Maybe it’s because we all survived the latest round of layoffs and we’re all here to stay (at least for the present!). Maybe it’s because the gig at “TCWSRN” really and truly – I kid you not, big fella – seems to be drawing to a close. (It’s not as if the work there will end – it’s just that everyone knows that there’s really not much more either party can do to make the other truly happy. At some point you just have to go Bill Belichick and just say, “it is what it is” and move on.)

The most important thing above all is that my dad’s transition from the apartment he shared with my mom for the better part of fifteen years to his new senior living studio apartment is now complete. It took a lot of time, planning, and stress, but it really worked out for the best and better than anyone could have possibly imagined. At his new digs at Summer Place, the old routines have been replaced by new ones, the lifestyle lived in the vacuum created by my mom’s passing two-plus years ago now replaced by an entirely different one shared with dozens of folks his own age, in similar or different situations, from similar or different backgrounds. The stress of having to drive, or wonder how to plan for his next meals are a thing of the past: he can come and go as he likes, have his breakfast at his own time, then go down for lunch and dinner with familiar faces and do as much or as little with his time as he wants.

While traveling back on yet-another delayed Jet Blue flight (I’m not sure I’ve ever had a flight to or from Phoenix this year that ever took off on time) I couldn’t help but think of the process and how it all worked out. Visiting Summer Place for the first time last January (or was it February?) I somehow knew in the back of my mind that this was the place for my dad’s next phase of his life; I just didn’t know how it was going to happen. But it did happen, and I’ll allow myself a pat on the back for making it happen as (I think) as stress-free for my dad as could be expected. I consider myself a damned good planner who leaves very little to chance, yet allowing for the wiggle-room of chance and opportunity to make things happen in a way that benefits everyone. And it all worked out – almost flawlessly. I know Mom would be pleased to see Dad in the kind of arrangement he’s now in.

So that’s that. This whole year, between work and my dad’s situation, has left precious little time for me. (So shut up and suck it up, Great White Shank – since when has it all been all about you, anyways?) There’s been a lot of travel, and I’ve grown to hate air travel. The way you’re treated, the way people dress and act when traveling (since when has it become fashionable to rush forward ahead of the rows before you?), the delays, the overall hassle of it all. I’m worn down and tired, my golf game sucks, and I’ve really kind of lost sight of who I am, where I am, and where the road leads from here. Staying at the guesthouse at my dad’s place and seeing all the folks there, I couldn’t help but wonder what my own future is. What’s the purpose in my life, if there is one? Am I just supposed to kind of work my way into retirement, drink Pinot Grigio under happy pineapple lights until I get cancer or have a stroke, or keel over dead from a widow-maker?

I guess in the back of my mind it’s this: at the ripe old age of 89, my dad has a great little situation. Is that what my future is? I’m not saying anything or any outcome is good or bad. I don’t know what’s coming down the pike. But for the first time in my life I’m fearful of the future. Something’s gonna happen – it’s bound to – and I’m just not ready for it. They say you’re only as young as you feel, but I feel tired, old, and washed up. And maybe that’s understandable: I’ve had enough drama these past 2+ years since my mom’s passing that I’m just tired both mentally and physically. Most folks in my situation would bury themselves in their work as a form of relief from the personal stuff, but in my case work has done nothing but contribute to the overall stress of things.

And the same thing with golf: I’m sick of fighting with my golf game to the point where I’m just going to leave them in the travel bag until something makes me want to look at them again. The whole Goodboys thing I think I’m done with. I’d rather putter around the house and keep ahead of the dirt and the dust than fight with something that offers nothing in return for the effort put forth.

As it turns out, this year has been one of transition far more than I ever could have imagined at its start. And probably even more for me than what I thought it would be for my dad.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:22 | Comments Off on Transitioned
September 9, 2018

“But if anyone abuses one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would be better for him to have a heavy boulder tied around his neck and be hurled into the deepest sea than to face the punishment he deserves!” — Mark 9:42

To me this is unfathomable.

At least 1,000 children were molested by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses, as senior church officials took steps to cover it up, according to a landmark grand jury report released Tuesday.
The grand jury report, which states in excess of 300 clergy committed abuse over a period of decades from the mid-1950s, the “real number” of abused children could be “in the thousands,” since numerous records were either lost or victims were afraid to come forward. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the two-year investigation found a systematic cover-up by senior church officials in both the Keystone State and the Vatican.

“The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up,” said Shapiro at a press conference in Harrisburg. “These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation.”

If this doesn’t disgust you nothing else will.

And if this doesn’t disgust you nothing else will. To even think anyone in the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy could be so tone deaf and so cold is hard to fathom. How such an ignorant, vile disgrace to the Church could have been ordained tells you as much about the morality and character of the Church’s leadership as anything else – after all, it is demons like this who choose who are choosing who is being ordained these days and who is not.

Eric Erickson nails it when he writes:

I am not Catholic but have many Catholic friends, for whom I grieve. The church is exposed now to the devil, and regardless of your politics or faith, this is a scandal about which you should care deeply. It is exposing not just the church hierarchy but also the American media that once prided themselves on uncovering abuse within the church. Now, instead, our social betters in the press have taken the position that molesting children is bad but homophobia is worse.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, has released an 11-page testimony assailing the church for turning a blind eye to the sexual depravity and abuse of Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington. He has named names, exposing a church hierarchy that allowed open homosexual conduct into its seminaries and offices. Some men of the church, having taken vows of chastity and celibacy, have been not only sleeping around but preying on young men with the knowledge of their superiors.

…Then, of course, there are the American media. The New York Times and other media outlets have pointed out that Vigano is a conservative theologian opposed to letting gays in the church. Therefore, according to our social elite, his charges are without merit, and the press will not investigate. The crisis of the Catholic Church has arrived, and we are learning what its leaders are made of. Too many, sadly, are made of pieces of silver. The priests of the church, the crisis upon them, will now reveal who they are by whether they stand up for the little ones and truth itself.

Methinks Pope Francis’s tweet about “communicating a lifestyle” (hastily deleted, of course) speaks volumes about how the Roman Catholic Church sees its modern-day mission and what it considers its priorities. But this is what happens when you have a Church that for decades has become a haven for homosexual predators and pedophiles who were allowed to move into the Church’s hierarchy and bring their own perversions along with their ordination vows. And as they did, it encouraged more of the same to be ordained as priests and to live out those perversions without any fear of reprimand, turning the Church into a sort of ecclesiastical Provincetown or Key West. Harsh words, perhaps, but 100% true. These people may be priests through ordination, but what they really are are monsters. And God damns the Roman Catholic Church for allowing this to happen.

As you can tell, my emotions run pretty hot when it comes to this kind of thing, seeing modern-day Christianity dissolving before our very eyes from the satanic onslaught of modern liberalism and political correctness. It isn’t accidental by any stretch of the imagination: they’re hell-bent (literally!) on destroying the orthodoxy of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and replacing it with the “New Trinity” of Acceptance, Tolerance, and Diversity. And it’s not just the Roman Catholic Church; you see it with the damned rainbow flags and banners that adorn seemingly every Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian church property. Because, as you know, modern-day Protestanism could care less about the God they worship; it’s far more important to make sure deviants find a “safe place” where they can test just how inclusive God can be when it comes to human sexuality. And to hell with everyone else.

It’s all bullshit – the Church, its leadership, and the ass-kissers who support it in the pews.

And Satan has to be pleased with what he sees.

Returning to the Roman Catholic Church, one would think that this would serve as a “teachable moment” when it comes to honesty, humility, repentance, and a commitment to weeding out any bad actor who even has a hint of trouble in his background. But no, instead, you have a radical leftist, social-justice warrior Pope who sees the issues of Climate Change, Open Borders, and Immigration as the true causes of the Church. The fact you have a Pope tweeting about the dangers of plastic when his church is awash in sexual abuse scandal ought to tell you far more about the man – and the Church – than anything else. Climate change? Open borders? Immigration?

If you’re a politician, that kind of thing might be well within your scope of interest. But the Roman Catholic Church? The Church upon which the rock of St. Peter was founded? How about simply communicating the following:
1. We preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2. We worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
3. We hold up the lives of the Saints as something to strive for in our own daily lives
4. We live the Church’s faith
5. And when we fail in any of the above, we confess our sins and ask Our Lord for the grace to do better

Don’t get me wrong here: this is not about homosexuality – although to a certain extent it is. Personally, I could care less what, how, or who a person sees themselves and lives their lives out sexually. The problem is, the modern-day Church has placed sexuality about faithfulness and humility. We are all sinners. We all fall short of God’s wishes, plans, and hopes for us. Which is where the rubber hits the road, doesn’t it? The sad truth is, these Roman Catholic priests have put their perversions and sexual inclinations above their “supposed” sacred callings to the priesthood. Having a keen sense of just what a true calling is, I believe these demons entered into the Church to destroy it from within. And if there is a God, may they all be condemned to the farthest reaches of Hell.

I’m not going to preach here and tell Christians what they ought to do. Everyone’s salvation lies within their own reach; everyone needs to pursue their own relationship with God, whether inside or outside the Church, in the best way they know how. Seek good above all else and avoid evil above all else, I heard one priest say on one of our Caribbean cruises many years ago. Personally, I think it’s pretty damned good advice, no matter who you are or what you are. Just don’t lift up your local parish priest to be some paragon of virtue, because he’s not. In fact, when it comes to one’s own path to righteousness and salvation, you’re probably far more ahead of him than you could imagine.

Seek good and avoid evil. In any or every manner they manifest themselves in. Put not your faith and trust in the leadership of any Church. They are all corrupt. They are all political. Instead, put your faith in yourself and relating your life to God’s Word as it exists in the Gospels. In my view, you can’t do any better than the Gospel of Mark. His Jesus would have known what to do with the Church of today: the merchants and the moneychangers in the Temple come to mind.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 02:14 | Comments Off on Demons Amongst Us
September 7, 2018

So I’m guessing you’re wondering what the two chicks from ABBA, Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog, doing on a post titled after a dumb Elton John classic? Actually, the song sucks, but I sure like its sentiments.

The other day I made myself a Hemingway daiquiri (since the Oronoco brand is no longer manufactured I’ve switched to Olo Silver) and sat out on the back patio under happy pineapple lights. There was a bit of a breeze out of the southwest stirring the queen palms keeping the heat of the day at bay and the sunset a dust-free (thankfully!) clean and shimmering gold, allowing me to just take a breath from another long, hard day at work and a long, hard year. Another call with “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” and another dick-head management moron trying to tell me how to do my job, but I’ve grown hardened to where point where it’s just another shitty day in paradise, right? My company had completed another round of layoffs but they’re not going to get rid of me – at least just yet – because there’s too much unfinished business on my watch (not to mention the fact that my team brings in revenue). I have little doubt my time will come, but the executioner’s chair will just have to wait.

So there I was, just trying to veg out, me and my daiquiri. No music playing. Thinking about just how stressful this year has been. Not just from work, but all the planning involved with getting my dad into housing he can feel comfortable in and enjoy. The past nine months has me completely worn down and mentally fried to the point where I don’t even feel like hitting balls – let alone playing golf – as a form of distraction. The good thing is, I’m just a week away from starting back at the gym, and the Eades diet and its two weeks without alcohol and caffeine, but that’s the way it’s gotta be: I want to look and feel great when I go to Vegas the first weekend in December. Maybe by that time I might even feel like hitting balls.

In the meantime…

Be careful what you watch on TV. The other night Tracey was watching some show on the history of ABBA. It didn’t seem bad, so I sat down and watched it with her. That was six days ago, and six days later I still can’t get this stupid song out of my mind. Well, it’s not stupid, it’s a damned finely-crafted piece of confection pop that deserved to be a hit. But, how to get the damned song out of my head?

Somewhat related, in a “guy” sort of way is the news that Dawn Wells, Mary Ann of “Gilligan’s Island” is soliciting donations on GoFundMe because of some health issues that require expensive surgery and money she doesn’t have. A thought: can you imagine if every guy who, at one time or another, over beers with friends and strangers at a local watering hole, debated “Ginger or Mary Ann” and argued for Mary Ann, sent Ms. Wells $10 for her trouble? Why, she’d be swimming in dough-re-mi! Having always been firmly and unequivocally been on the “Mary Ann” side of that universal debate, perhaps I ought to do just that.

…I say somewhat related above because the same kind of argument rages over on YouTube for every ABBA video ever posted. Is it Agnetha (that cute blonde kitten with one of the finest asses you’ll ever see on a girl), or Frida, the brunette with that mischievous look and seductive eyes. Check this alternative video of “I Do…” out and you’ll know what I mean. Two very different and attractive kinds of girls, right? For two very different kinds of guys. I know who my Goodboys pal The Funny Guy would pick: he’s an Agnetha dude if I ever saw one. And I’m guessing the same for fellow Goodboys Goose and Cubby as well. They’re all such dopes for cute blondes. My Goodboys pal Killer? I think be would be a Frida guy. Me? Unlike with the Ginger and Mary Ann debate (which to me is no contest), this one is really too close to call. But were you to put a gun to my head, I’d have to go with Agnetha by a nose because of that cute little gap between her front teeth that just makes my heart melt. (Sad to say, she got her teeth worked on somewhere down the line because “the gap” disappeared in later videos.) But then I look at Frida’s long, brown bangs and eye makeup and I’m conflicted all over again.

Here’s an idea: if you guys out there can’t decide, use as a tie-breaker how the ladies look in their infamous cat outfits. I’ll spare with the obvious and sexist guy comment that comes to mind.

So much for this being an intellectual blog post.

I have to admit, between the Democrats meltdown at the Kavanaugh hearings, the “revelations” contained in the Bob Woodward book, and that infamous Op-ed in the New York Times, one has to admit President Trump has had a pretty good week. Breitbart’s Nick Nolte is right:

I don’t care how Trump makes his decisions, I care about the end result of those decisions.

All this long con over Trump’s “fitness” is based on is his management style; which is meaningless inside-inside gossip for the stupid and shallow to masturbate over – a hoax, a con, a carnival barker’s sideshow.

How about if we focus on the substance for just a moment…

Our economy is booming for the first time in a freakin’ decade, manufacturing jobs are finally coming back, North Korea has stopped launching missiles, the War on Terror feels like a bad memory, ISIS is no longer lighting people on fire, Putin’s adventurism has been halted, the rule of law is returning to the Supreme Court, someone is finally paying serious attention to the plight of the working class, were out of the Paris Hoax Treaty, the Iran Deal is dead, we’re not funding the Palestinians, we’re not transporting billions in cash to terrorist nations, the media are finally being treated like the Democrat operatives they are, the Obamacare mandate is dead, black and Hispanic unemployment has hit record lows, and, and, and…

Look at that. Look at all of those accomplishments, all the substantive substance above and tell me again why I’m supposed to give even a scintilla of a damn about Trump’s style.

As long as Trump lives inside the Democrats’ heads they are powerless to think and do anything else. I hate the very idea of helping the opposition party, so I won’t bother giving them any talking points they could be using to help their cause. Because they could turn the tables on Trump and use his own campaign words against them (again, I don’t want to give them any hints). Instead let them freak out and act like the juveniles and morons they are. Heck, if they can’t conjure up any effective strategy beyond Trump being unfit for office, and that he’s Hitler personified, and that his latest Supreme Court nominee will kill all women and children, why not just let them continue digging the hole they are digging for themselves?

…speaking of which, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is a jackass.

R.I.P. Burt Reynolds.

This is way beyond cool.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:09 | Comments Off on I’m Still Standing


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