February 6, 2019

To me the State of the Union speech has become a bore to watch now that it is politicized in much the same way everything else is nowadays. I mean, you can’t watch (if you wanted to, that is) the Oscars, the Grammys, or the Super Bowl without having politics and political correctness shoved down your throat, so I’ve come to avoid it. It seems to me more like a horse race of political one-uppance between all the particulars in publicizing who they’re inviting: I’ll raise my illegal immigrant over your cancer survivor or what not. Everyone is inviting someone in order to make a political statement, which in turn raises the political stakes of the event itself into the stratosphere.

…and I despise the camera work, focusing on who’s clapping and standing to applaud and who’s not, who’s making sour faces and sitting on their hands, etc. etc. It’s all such childish bullshit. But I guess that’s what our so-called “elected leaders” in Washington have reduced the occasion to – after all, it’s not the media’s fault when they show elected grown-ups acting like children. One would think that our elected leaders would, if they can’t respect the president as a person, at least respect the office and the decorum of the event. But I guess that’s too much to ask anymore.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but why can’t the State of the Union speech be more akin to a CEO’s report made to a company’s investors and stockholders? I personally don’t need a whole lot of detail: this is where we’re doing well, this is where we need to improve, here are the problems coming down the track that we’re going to have to face – that would be more than enough. And, I might add, appropriate for the occasion. Which is why, to some extent, what I’ve seen and read about President Trump’s speech last night – for all its obvious successes – a bit disappointing.

For example, how a president can give a SOTU speech without referencing in detail our national debt and the urgency of working out our so-called entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security is beyond me. That being said, I thought (at least from the clips I saw) the president did a good enough job championing the successes his administration has had with the economy and employment amongst women and minorities. And I especially liked it when he chastised the Democrats for their utter hypocrisy when it comes to children and the unborn (supporting more maternal leave while openly supporting third-trimester abortions) and protecting our border (condemning putting “children in cages” but openly supporting the human trafficking of minors whose suffering seems immune to open-borders supporters). I also thought it was important that Trump championed capitalism and condemned socialism in all its forms – boy, you could see the likes of Bernie Sanders and socialist babe Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez sucking lemons when he said that!

Speaking of my favorite cute socialist, I wish she’d just shut up and try to do her job for a while and stop thinking everything and anything is all about her. While I disagree with her views, I do like her spunk, but she’s beginning to wear out her welcome, with even me!

A couple of final thoughts:

1) As far as the Democrats go – especially those of the female persuasion, this post tells it all. I thought them all wearing white was kind of stupid – especially with all the recent coverage involving Virginia governor Ralph Northam being pictured wearing either blackface or a Ku Klux Klan outfit – take your pick. Certainly someone was bound to make the connection and photoshop something on Twitter about it. Which someone did.

2) So let me get this straight: after the last week, and confirmed during last night’s SOTU by their reaction to the president’s speech, here are the basic planks for the Democrats heading into 2020:

— no walls along our southern border
— unrestricted illegal immigration
— support for unrestricted abortion, up to and including infanticide
— socialism over capitalism

Good luck with that!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:54 | Comments Off on SOTU Much!
February 5, 2019

It’s a solid #4 on my list of all-time greatest albums of all time. Do yourselves a favor: take 90 minutes out of your time, pour yourself the cocktail of your choice, and just listen. No, it’s not “Rumours” – it was never guitarist Lindsay Buckingham’s intention to play the music industry’s game of churning out one chip off the old block after another in order to sell gazillions of albums while losing your soul. Buckingham – much like Brian Wilson did with the Beach Boys’ Love You album – had been influenced by the emerging punk, anti-corporate rock movement of that time, and had been wanting to push the band to explore something a little different. As I wrote about the album at that time:

And I guess that’s why I, and so many other fans of the group, regard Tusk so fondly and for what it is. It’s eclectic, that’s for certain, with Buckingham’s contributions sounding little more than home studio demos. But the album also has a certain groove or feeling running through it that is unique within the band’s canon. To me it’s a late-night kind of listening experience, one filled with the longing for love, the remembrance of love lost, and the hopelessly-intense experience of being in a relationship with a lover that’s rarely optimistic and/or positive. From the Christine McVie tracks that bookend the album, “Over and Over” and “Never Forget”, respectively, you pretty much get Tusk‘s intentions: love is a roll of the dice, filled with longing, pain, brooding, fear, anger, paranoia, and uncertainty. Rather than crackling with the kind of tension displayed on Rumours, Tusk displays a more introspective moodiness – one of the reasons I like it so much.

I’m not sure the group bought into it totally. Still, Tusk sold millions of albums and remains (at least in my view) the finest work the group has ever done. In addition to the above I would add that it’s edgy, bitchy, passionate, moody, eccentric, and uniquely odd for its time. The musicianship is incredibly tight and (particularly Buckingham’s guitar work) intricate throughout. More than anything else, whether overtly or quietly, it’s intense beyond intense – something meant to be listened to with your significant other, perhaps late at night over a glass of wine or two. The way its passion, intensity, and intimacy pours out from the speakers is an experience you have to set time aside in order to appreciate.

There are some great songs on Tusk from all the band’s songwriting members. From Lindsay Buckingham, “Tusk”, “What Makes You Think You’re The One”, “Walk A Thin Line”, “I Know I’m Not Wrong” (this alternate version would have fit even better), “That’s All For Everyone”, “That’s Enough For Me” (love the fuzz on both guitar and bass), and “Save Me A Place”. From Christine McVie, “Think About Me” (one of the best tracks they ever cut, IMO – just listen to Buckingham’s grungy guitar work throughout), the album’s moody opener “Over and Over”, “Brown Eyes” (a mysterious piece featuring old Mac alumni Peter Green on the song’s tag), “Honey Hi” (one of the few songs on the album featuring layered harmonies), and the album’s closer, “Never Forget” with its easy groove and sparkling Lindsay/Stevie (can she sing lower?) harmonies on the song’s tag.

…but it would be Stevie Nicks who would grace Tusk with a series of songs she (at least IMO) would never top for the rest of her career: the dreamy “Sara”, the edgy “Angel” (“like a ghost through the fog” is a great lyric) with its grunge bass line and guitar backing, the pleading “Beautiful Child” (“Your eyes say yes, but you don’t say yes”), and, in my view the only song that rivals both “Silver Springs” and “Seven Wonders” in Nicks’s contributions to the Fleetwood Mac canon, “Storms”.

If there is one song that defines Tusk, it is “Storms”. Quietly intense, Buckingham’s layered guitar work and McVie’s organ weaves in and out like some ghostly visitor, dropping in and out to emphasize (or not emphasize) the sense of deep longing, loss, and introspection that permeates the song from start to finish. The song’s final verse drips with a sense of despair, sadness, and resignation:

So I try to say goodbye my friend
I’d like to leave you with something warm
But never have I been a blue calm sea
I have always been a storm
Always been a storm
Ooh, always been a storm
I have always been a storm

We were frail
She said, “Every night he will break your heart”
I should have known from the first I’d be the broken hearted
I loved you from the start
Save us
And not all the prayers in the world could save us

There’s no way a song like “Storms” could have existed on either Rumours or its more commercially-sounding successor, Mirage. Rather, it’s as if Tusk and this track were meant to define one another: moody, passionate, almost desperate in its longing to strip away the rock n’ roll façade and just wrap its legs around you in an intimate embrace. All the play-acting and transparency is stripped away; the protagonist is saying to her (or his) partner, “listen to me!“. Which is exactly the kind of statement Buckingham was looking to make.

Sure, there are a few duds on Tusk: how could any double-album not? Nicks’s “Sisters Of The Moon”, while featuring a solid band performance and a searing Buckingham solo, sounds contrived to the brink of (given Nicks’ witchy persona) parody, and a couple of Buckingham’s contributions (“The Ledge”, “Not That Funny”) are really nothing more than glorified demos. Still, this is a band that delivers rock-solid performances throughout. Given the sparse arrangements, the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie have plenty of space to fill, and they never sounded better, and Buckingham’s guitar work shines from start to finish. Buckingham’s production work here is almost the anti-Phil Spector: aside from “That’s All…” and “Brown Eyes” there’s very little studio funkiness; the band could be playing in your living room. One commenter called it Lindsay Buckingham’s “Pet Sounds”; I think that’s about right.

Tusk may not be everyone’s tea, but it stands out as a unique musical statement for a band that, following Rumours could have played it straight but chose not to.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:49 | Comments Off on Totally Tusk
February 4, 2019

Actually missed the first half of the game because I was finishing up a three-weekend odyssey of cleaning the kitchen and all cabinets from top to bottom. Been in this house fifteen years and I can’t remember the last time all the cabinets got emptied and scrubbed. Ugh. They needed it. But after that….

I mean, what can you say about Tom Brady, right? But it was the Patriots defense that made this whole victory happen. And to think, as far back as November all the Boston scribes were writing about how poor the Patriots looked. And you know what, they were right! In the NFL – as Bill Belichick knows all to well – it’s not how you play in November that counts, but how you play in January. The Patriots peaked at exactly the right time.

Of course, what we are seeing is something that will never happen again. I mean, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick getting their sixth Super Bowl in nine – count ’em, nine – tries. Are you kidding me? I sure hope all the folks back in my home town understand just how incredible and precious this is, because once it’s truly over it will never happen again.

…not to mention the fact that Boston is now 2-0 in post-season play against Los Angeles teams in the same year. I don’t think that has ever been done before, right?

In other news…

Courtesy of Instapundit, have to admit this is pretty funny:

…talk about dead man walking.

If this is true (which I doubt it is, coming from a Hot Air “Never Trumper” linking to the “Fake News” Washington Post, screw you, Mitch, and all your other spineless, limp-wristed GOPe weenies. All you’re doing is making President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign message for him.

..which ought to be a reminder to all you Trump-haters out there that he is, and will continue to be, your president for quite some time. Because that means more winning. And isn’t winning better than losing?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | Comments Off on Monday Musings – Super Bowl Hangover Edition
February 2, 2019

It’s Supah Bowl weekend. I wonder how many folks like me will simply watch the football, turning it off during commercials and at halftime. Regardless of what the NFL and the mainstream media thinks, it’s just a friggin’ football game, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick and social justice.

…in my view it’s only helmeted lives that matter; everyone else can go pound sand as far as I’m concerned. BTW, Colin, how’s that NFL career going for ya? You know what I think? The word L-O-S-E-R comes to mind.

Great Twitter post on today’s Democratic Party. And it’s Republicans who are at fault? Beam me up, Scotty, because there’s no intelligent life down here.

…which, BTW, just capped off a bad, no good, just lousy week for the liberal left, not to mention the Dems’ obsession with Russian collusion. And I got news for you Trump haters: it ain’t gonna get any better from here on out.

And it wasn’t a very good week for the mainstream media, either. But then again, what week is these days?

But it’s Donald Trump who’s the doofus, right?

…and no, I will never get tired of winning.

Damn, she’s, like, cute, but, like, y’know, she sure is, like, dumb as a sack of rocks, y’know?

So let me get this straight: we’re just weeks into the Democrats taking over the House of Representatives and the storylines include: 1) frolicking in Puerto Rico during the government shutdown, 2) seeking to kill babies right up until the time of birth, 3) wanting to tax folks at 70% or even higher, 4) comparing Israel to the South during segregation, and 5) a bunch of far-left senators entering the 20/20 presidential race with checkered pasts (here, here, and here). Got it.

Ummm…yes you are. The sword cuts both ways, asshole.

Why not just admit it, Democrats: between your support for human trafficking across an unprotected southern border, your support for Planned Parenthood, your support of infanticide by pushing for unrestricted abortion, your support for unrestricted illegal immigration, your embrace of socialism and all its misery, your coddling of the LGBTQ+ lobby’s warped views on gender identification, and the misery, death, and destruction your inner-city mayors cause minority families and children, you’re now the party of Death and Destruction – most especially when it comes to children and young adults. To even think you believe in compassion, diversity, tolerance, and acceptance is a hideous joke. You are perverted, vile, and evil at the core.

…but the days of being able to hide behind your radical agenda and your perverted view of “social justice” by an ass-kissing mainstream media are coming to an end. Because now that you’re in power and a loon like Nancy Pelosi has allowed even greater loons on your far-left to hog the media spotlight, the country can now see just how far you and your party have been steered outside the political mainstream. You all deserve it.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:07 | Comments Off on Weekending – Supah Bowl Edition
February 1, 2019

So, there we were, Carmelo and me, standing around discussing the state of the front yard. I was getting ready to have some new accent lighting put in to kind of spiff up the way the house looked at night and was commenting to him how it would be nice to have another tree in the front, closer to the road. “You’ve already got one”, says Carmelo, pointing to a growth in the middle of some red yucca that had been there for years. “Your tree gave birth to a baby.”

We walked over to the red yuccas, and sure enough a new tree had sprouted up in the middle. I don’t know what kind of tree it is – people round these parts seem to only know mesquites and palo verdes, and this isn’t either. The previous owner of the house told me it was a pistachio tree, but from looking at a couple of Arizona botanical websites, I don’t think so. It’s a nice tree, though, with small leaves and bright red berries from time to time. The mockingbirds have used the main tree as a nest in recent years, and I’m hoping the mourning doves might consider it for a nursey this year since I moved the planter they had two broods in last year from its location by the side gate to a strategic fork of branches in the same tree.

There were three red yuccas surrounding the new sprout, and it was Carmelo’s suggestion that one of them go to allow the new tree to really be noticed. Which he did, and which it has:

…and you can see how big the new tree is over on the right side below:

“Junior” is a cute little guy who is presently growing like a weed – almost a foot since we removed the red yucca more than a month ago. The fact that the mature tree created enough of a root system in order to generate this new tree suggests to me that it probably was the culprit behind the sewer line issues we had several years ago. Still, it’s a nice addition to the front yard, and in an absolutely perfect place that is only going to make it more attractive as it grows larger in the years to come.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:50 | Comments Off on A Tree Grows In Gilbert


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