April 13, 2020

A nod to John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival for the title of this post. Thinking about it, I’ve never included their classic LP “Cosmo’s Factory” as a top 10 album of all time but you take a look at the quality of the songs on it and, while perhaps not top 10 material, I could easily put it in my all-time top 20 – it’s that good.

Anyways, a picture taken from the back patio on a warm and tranquil Easter evening. I’m really proud of what I’ve done with the back yard (a nod to Tracey on the colors of the pool deck). Even the A/C and plumbing/electric guys who replaced our hot water heater and electrical box (in that order) last week remarked how our back yard looks like a resort. And you know what? It does – by design! It was always designed for a place Jimmy would have felt comfortable in.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 03:13 | Comments Off on Lookin’ Out My Back Door
April 12, 2020
Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:47 | Comments Off on Happy Easter (Coronavirus Edition)
April 11, 2020

Hope y’all are enjoying another “Coronavirus Crackdown” weekend. Normally folks would be out and attending church services and going out for dinner, but there won’t be any of that this year. Here (as where y’all are) things have been pretty quiet. I’ve been working on getting my resume up to speed and I’ll be uploading that to my LinkedIn profile on Monday. I have an interview with the Visiting Angels folks on Monday to see if that is something I might be interested in doing part-time, and my resume will be going to my local Poolwerx shop and a couple of UPS stores as well. I’ve also started looking at the Craig’s list classified to see what kind of interesting work from home opportunities there might be out there. So all is good.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that, the further away I get from my previous healthcare IT life, the less attractive it is as far as the idea of returning to it. As my wife told me last night, I’ve paid my dues. Sure, the money was good, but it really wasn’t what anyone would call a quality of life. At this point in time I’m not closing my mind to anything – it would be foolish to do so. But increasingly – and things can always change (most especially the way things are now) – the thinking is that it would have to be a damned attractive and near-perfect opportunity to lure me back into the professional IT world again.

One of the questions about this whole COVID-19 pandemic thing that no one seems either interested in or curious about is why Las Vegas hasn’t been one of the hot spots out there. I mean, think about it: Vegas ought to be a virtual petri dish for a Coronavirus outbreak – the casinos didn’t start closing until late February, you have a very high Asian population that frequents the town, you have large numbers of folks working, gambling, eating, drinking, and going to theaters, nightclubs, and, yes, even strip clubs (so I’ve heard, I’ve never been in one ;-)) in close proximity to each other. One would think the town should have been a natural hot spot but it doesn’t appear to be so.

Any time you have a crisis situation like this you’re going to good folks trying to make the best of a bad situation – this story is one of them.

…and, on the other hand you’ve got folks who allow the power of their elected positions go to their heads and start acting like tin-pot dictators. And all these folks attempting to close down Easter church services – even if they are held out in the open and with folks social distancing themselves via their cars is incredible wrong and ill-advised.

…I went to a Lowe’s today to refill one of my propane tanks and they have markers on the floor to keep people apart and see-through plastic barriers to reduce direct contact with the check-out folks, so how is that OK and church services not? BINGO.

…of course these are, to a great extent, Democratic officials, so you have to think there’s some anti-religion bias going on out there. And given their liberal bent these days I highly doubt these churches can expect the ACLU to come to their rescue. It’s pretty pathetic.

…which is why I highly expect folks to begin acts of civil disobedience against state officials who begin resisting the opening up of cities and towns economically when the President’s task force starts publishing steps and guidelines along those lines. After all, freedom is baked into the DNA of this country and it’s citizens. (As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”) I have faith in our citizenry to know the risks and the rewards and will ultimately choose wisely.

And I further expect to start seeing some real push-back against Dr Fauci and his flip-flopping on the University of Washington’s IHME numbers, which continue to reflect zero reality to the actual number of deaths the Coronavirus is actually causing.. In the end, this is going to end up being nothing more than a normally-bad flu season. And no matter how they try to say the number of deaths have been reduced though social distancing, no one is pushing them to admit that social distancing was already baked into the model.

Because I know the Democrats and their operatives in the mainstream media as I do, it’s pretty easy to see how all this is going to play out in terms of messaging ahead of the 2020 presidential election:

1. Orange Man bad, a racist and xenophobe for shutting down air travel between the US and China.

2. Orange Man bad because he didn’t take the Coronavirus seriously at the beginning.

3. Orange Man bad because he’s going to kill people by opening up the economy too soon. (Watch after this happens the glee in which the media starts reporting every death that occurs starting on or around May 1.)

4. Then finally, Orange Man bad because he didn’t open up the economy sooner even when the models were always revising downward the number of expected deaths. (Watch after this the glee in which the media starts reporting how slow the economy takes to come back.) Remember that it will be up to the governors of each state to decide when to open up their own states. Considering the way locally-elected Democratic officials are using the virus as an excuse to close churches and other kinds of social gatherings they don’t like, expect state officials in Democratic states to drag their heels in an act of defiance and resistance against the President.

…after all, if you want to work against the President’s re-election in November, why be in a rush to get the economy growing and risk proving him right again?

Have a happy and blessed Easter, everyone!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:41 | Comments Off on Easter Weekending
April 10, 2020

…random thoughts continuing from yesterday’s post:

8. So given what I am predicting, what to do with all that empty real estate – the shopping malls, the strip mall real estate left vacated by the failure or discontinuation of businesses? Not to mention all the workers unemployed as a result of these failures. As I have previously mentioned, many of these are workers involve industries or services whose associated job losses were already on track for elimination due to the natural ebb and flow of economic changes resulting from emerging technologies; the “stay at home” measures adopted across the country during this contagion have only served to accelerate those changes. For these workers, while the short-term pain is going to be acute, there will be opportunities in the emerging post-Coronavirus economy if capitalism runs its course and creates new opportunities out of the pain we are going through.

9. One of the industries I can see arising out this crisis is (for lack of a better term) is the disinfectant industry. I’m not talking about just the industries associated with the manufacturing of disinfectant and sanitizing products, but new businesses associated with how these kinds of products are deployed across other industries.

10. Consider the hospitality and entertainment industries in general: prior to this crisis, in hotels you had housekeepers who would do some basic cleaning – clean the baths, vacuum the floor, overturn the beds, etc. – and move on to the next room. That’s their job, after all, to turn over rooms. Now imagine if you’re an entrepreneur who has devised a way to follow up that housekeeper’s visit and both effectively and efficiently disinfect those rooms before they are opened back up. Most certainly there are folks out there who already know how to do this – both from a supplier and a contractor of services. It doesn’t take a genius to imagine how this kind of business and industry would explode in terms of contractors and workers in the new, emergent economy.

11. That’s just one example: think about how restaurants, stores, theaters, the airlines and the cruise ship industry and such would require this kind of service, whether it is contracted out or from additional workers hired to perform these duties. And not only that: think about the construction design companies who will be contracted to advise and redefine the way various businesses in these industries operate to physically re-configure their floor plans and physical footprints to accommodate safe operations (advising clients on business operations involving supply chain, inventory management, profit & loss) under the new norm that will inevitably result. Certainly some savvy and inventive entrepreneur out there has already devised, or is developing, a service around this. They’re gonna be millionaires before they know it!

12. There is another area of the economy that I expect will get heightened consideration once this outbreak subsides that will invite new ideas and opportunities for industries and workers displaced by the so-called “old” (pre-Coronavirus) economy, and that will be in the area of public health. Those who have frequented this space know I’ve long advocated for a complete reassessment of how we handle the issues of mental health in this country: its inattentiveness and tolerance at all levels of government leading to the rapid rise in homelessness and homeless communities, drug use, and the other health-related and public safety issues that result.

13. Regarding mental health, I’m not advocating a return back to some Dickensian model of insane asylums where folks are scooped up off the streets, put away and the key tossed away. What I am proposing is a new generation of health care professional recruited and trained in rehabilitating those who have mental health and addiction issues. And I could envision the idea of a public / private partnership involving self-help centers and faith communities employing the number of empty buildings never going to utilized in their original purpose as public health recovery and treatment centers where folks get the help they need. Think about it: how good would that be? It would be a win/win for both the public good and our communities, not to mention – most especially – those who for so long have had no real place to go or desire to be treated. It will require an investment at all levels of government, but I think if we are going to mitigate the impacts of future epidemics or pandemics, taking a new look at how we handle the homeless population and those struggling with mental health and addiction issues and hiring workers and putting to good use empty spaces will benefit all.

14. Finally, keeping with the issue of public health, I think once we have a chance to look at the data resulting from this virus we are bound to see its adverse impact on those both in our inner cities and those having preconditions associated with obesity and the sociological/cultural health choices they have made involving habit and diet; these are all going to have to be looked at in a different way. My guess is that when all is said and done we’re going to find out that the Coronavirus was relatively harmful to very elderly people (not much one can do about that, unfortunately), relatively harmless to younger, otherwise-healthy individuals, and devastating to those with preconditions associated with heredity, obesity, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. The first there’s not much one can do much about, but the other two…

15. I can easily see there to be a push on realistically addressing this problem – in some ways punitively (for example, companies no longer hiring, or insurance companies no longer covering) those who are determined to be obese or otherwise unhealthy; in others in a supportive way (financial incentives, programs, and treatment plans) to help them get healthy and make healthy choices in their lifestyles. Once again, there are, and will be, incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs and a new generation of healthcare professionals specifically hired to work with those wanting and encouraged to improve their overall health and emotional and well-being. As with other areas involving our nation’s public health, it will require investment and involvement at all levels of government (and I’ll admit there will need to be careful treading here, most especially when it comes to constitutional rights, civil liberties, and patient confidentiality), but it is inevitable that the country’s public health community will be looking at ways to mitigate the impact of future epidemics, pandemics, and the costs of health care in general. You and I might not like it, but it’s bound to come. If we don’t it would be equivalent to malpractice.

All I am trying to say here is that, if we are going to be honest with each other, this country is going to be forever changed by what has occurred here. We can use it as a positive or as a negative force for change going forward. There will be a myriad of opportunities for change in the way we do things that will open up vast opportunities for folks displaced because of the Coronavirus contagion if we allow ourselves to discard the idea of “business as usual” forever. Taken together with actions that will ensure China is never allowed to be put in the position to harm us economically (or militarily) in the future, we can look at this (hopefully) brief interruption in our lives and our economy as a unique opportunity for positive force in this country’s future going forward. If we do not, all those lives that have been lost during this crisis will have been given in vain.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:32 | Comments Off on What Comes Next? (Part 2 of 2)
April 9, 2020

A few serious – and not so serious thoughts about what the bleepin’ hell is going on here…

For those of a scientific vent, this Epoch Times documentary is both riveting and sobering, and an indictment as to just how China is culpable for the kind of havoc the Coronavirus has wrought upon the world.

Agree with Benny Johnson on this: once the dust settles on this The USA must retaliate as follows:

1. Recognize Taiwan
2. Tariff Chinese goods for Virus Relief Fund
3. Repatriate manufacturing & medicine production
4. Give tax breaks and financial incentives to businesses to leave China
5. Economically invest in India
6. Deduct $ spent on virus from China Debt

I would also add to Benny’s list two additional items:

7. Implement “zero tolerance” policy on Chinese harassment of any ocean-going vessel (military and otherwise) in international waters.
8. Conduct a comprehensive investigation of all Chinese students attending US universities on visas.

There is a reckoning coming to China that their Communist leadership will live to deeply regret.

When all is said and done I believe what Paul Burrer wrote about the “floating petri dish” (his words known as the cruise ship Diamond Princess will pretty much pan out as far as the Coronavirus’s reach is concerned. Back on March 27 he wrote:

So new final stats are (taken to two decimal places)

* 3,711 total population on the floating petri dish known as Diamond Princess
* 712 tested positive or 19.19% of total pop
* 9 passed away or 0.24% total pop mortality
* CFR was 1.26%
* 331 or 46.49% of infected people were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Which means…
* 8.92% of the total population WAS INFECTED AND DIDN’T KNOW IT!!!!!
* 37 people required intensive care (1.00% of the total population

Personally, I think Rosie memos might be on to something here. Anecdotally speaking, I was with a bunch of co-workers in Vancouver from January 12-17. Anyone who knows that town knows there is a very high Asian population there. Two members of our team reported having cold (not flu) like symptoms the following week and thought nothing of it. To quote Led Zeppelin, “and it makes me wonder…”

But… but… Trump is trying to kill everyone by prescribing treatments without a doctor’s license!

These people are out of their fu**kin’ minds. Look, I don’t do hysteria well. And the fact we have these people with guns undermining our constitutional rights – and common sense! – as a result of a herd mentality is disgraceful.

Devastating. Your next move, “Sleepy Joe”. Good luck with that. I just wish they had included an image of him sniffing a young girl’s hair.

Geez, ya think? Of course, knowing the Democrats I fully expect them to come at President Trump saying he overreacted to the advice of hi experts, because, ya know, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. I think, looking back, he’ll be viewed as responding best he could with the information given him. Most folks who think rationally (and I’m not including the libs who get their info from NPR, CNN, and MSNBC here) recognize the President did the best he could given the info available to him at the time and acted on his best instincts. They may not like his style not the havoc that has resulted, but but they respect him for doing what he thought was necessary.

This REALLY pisses me off. Who do these fu**in’ clowns think they are? A meteorologist gets their prediction wrong, you get wet. These a**holes get their predictions wrong, and millions upon millions of people have their lives ruined. I hate so-called “experts”. These people make their predictions without any accountability and sleep comfortably in their beds at night. Personally, I hope their souls rot in hell.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:17 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Crisis We’re All Going To Die!!!

Ever since I watched that Linda Ronstadt video the other night I’ve been directed to the fabulous (and underrated) music of the late, great Warren Zevon, who created the kind of music the likes of Steely Dan (there I go again!) could only hope to create in their wildest dreams. And it’s in this time of national crisis that Zevon’s timeless lyrics in “Mohammed’s Radio” captures the essence of the times:

Everybody’s restless and they’ve got no place to go
Someone’s always trying to tell them
Something they already know
So their anger and resentment flow

Don’t it make you want to rock and roll
All night long Mohammed’s Radio
I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed’s Radio

You know, the Sheriff’s got his problems too
He will surely take them out on you
In walked the village idiot and his face was all aglow
He’s been up all night listening to Mohammed’s Radio

Don’t it make you want to rock and roll
All night long Mohammed’s Radio
I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed’s Radio

Everybody’s desperate trying to make ends meet
Work all day, still can’t pay the price of gasoline and meat
Alas, their lives are incomplete

Don’t it make you want to rock and roll
All night long Mohammed’s Radio
I heard somebody singing sweet and soulful
On the radio, Mohammed’s Radio

Great Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks background vocals.

But I’ve been thinking about when this is all over what the economic landscape is going to look like – not from a micro standpoint (although the changes will be significant) – but at a macro level. I certainly don’t know when the current stay-at-home / economic shutdown will end, but no matter when it does I think it’s pretty clear that things are going to look far different than they did just a month ago. And while I think changes will be noticeable in a 3-4 months’ time, what I’d like to do here is post some thoughts about the economic recovery I think will start to be readily apparent (and longer lasting) within the next year or so. This is kind of thinking out loud stuff, so I welcome any thoughts y’all might have.

1. This Larry Schweikart Twitter thread (read the whole thing). I think most folks (primarily because of the mainstream media and its reckless and reprehensible coverage of President Trump’s handling of this crisis) don’t understand just how much the President and his team have “got this”. These guys a far smarter and more savvy than the media will ever give them credit for. This is something you will want to keep in mind as the President’s “Economic Recover Task Force” takes shape over the next week. These guys are certainly not going to destroy the economy like Dr. Fauci and his penchant for attention through non-stop alarmist statements and prominent Democrats would like to do. These folks want to use the virus as their their way to stop Trump’s reelection in November. It won’t work.

2. Hard-goods stores like hardware stores and home stores are going to be a thing of the past. Think about it: is there anything your local home store or hardware store sell have that you can’t order online from Amazon or Walmart? While I’m sure the Lowe’s and Home Depots of this world will survive (they simply have too much variety and services to not), the local hardware, home goods, and specialty stores will be a thing of the past.

3. Clothing stores are going to be hit and miss. Why? Because for women (and I don’t think I’m being sexist about this at all) going clothes shopping is as much of a social activity than anything else. Sure, there are gazillions of catalogs out there, but the whole social aspect of clothes shopping – thumbing through the racks for deals, trying clothes on and the like is not going to go away.

4. That being said, your average shopping mall is a dinosaur; I would expect a failure rate as much as 80% over the next year or two at most. The fact is, shopping malls were really nothing more than excuses to get out and spend more money on items than you would normally do because “they were there”. Expect many, if not all, of the specialty stores you would normally see in malls to go fully online and catalog or close up shop altogether. Hopefully that will include the likes of the Cheesecake Factory, which produced lousy food at an exorbitant cost simply for its location. If this shutdown has any silver lining whatsoever, it will be the end to the CF’s loud atmosphere, lousy service, and overpriced food. That would be a good thing.

But I digress.

5. Back to the shopping mall. Why? Because it’s just like when I gave my mom and dad their first computer back in Windows 95 days. I brought the computer over to them, installed it and fired it up, then showed them how to use e-mail and the internet. I remember clearly Mom saying, “Honey, but we don’t need a computer.” Three months later, she’s checking e-mail first thing in the morning and connecting up with family members and friends all over the place, sharing photos and the like. I remember sometime after that them losing their internet for a couple of days and Mom telling me how disconnected they felt. This is exactly what has happened during this shutdown: even the most nervous and hesitant of folks when it came to online buying are doing it, and they’re never going back.

6. Which is why I expect many of the specialty stores you would find in your average shopping mall to either go out of business or transfer all of their business model to online shopping. Sure, some of the malls and these businesses will continue to operate in different ways we can’t imagine at this time, but it will be on a much smaller basis – as I say, the shopping mall concept as we know it is dead.Which means lots of folks out of work and needing to find new lines of work.

7. Those companies who have shifted their work force to work from home are going to discover two things: (1) they are getting the same kind of productivity (or near that) from a remote workforce, and (2) seeing the true dead wood and deadbeats of the company revealed for what they are. I would expect to see quite a few companies of all kinds reducing their physical footprints in order to what IBM started doing (and was ridiculed for) back in the 90s by creating smaller offices with public pods and workstation areas where folks can come in, say, once a week for meetings and reduce their costs associated with office space rent.

So what to do with all that empty real estate and the jobs lost because of the switch to online retail? I will offer some thoughts on that in my next installment.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:10 | Comments Off on What Comes Next? (Part 1 of 2)
April 7, 2020

Now that I’m unemployed I’m enjoying the opportunity to watch the President’s Coronavirus Task Force daily briefings. I always thought the mainstream media – YOUR mainstream media (I say YOUR because I refuse to get any of my information from these clowns, and have for some time) – were ignorant, arrogant, and ill-informed, but believe me, even I have been shocked at their level of stupidity and incompetence.

Don’t believe me? Today’s press conference featured this actual passage:

REPORTER: I was looking at oil today.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: What’s the price today?

REPORTER: Huh?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: What’s the price?

REPORTER: I don’t know.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Then how can you ask a question you don’t know?

REPORTER: I’ll have to get it.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: When you do you can get back to me.

Not only was this an indicator of how stupid the mainstream media is, this bozo allowed himself to be embarrassed on national TV.

Now ask ourselves: are these really the kind of folks you want to rely on for your information? It’s no wonder CNN and MSNBC no longer want to carry the President’s press conferences live anymore: they know how pathetically stupid and ignorant their own media colleagues are being revealed to the American public.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 16:13 | Comments Off on Your Mainstream Media In One Brief Passage
April 6, 2020

“The days drift by, they don’t have names…” — Jimmy Buffett, “I Have Found Me A Home”

It’s amazing how being suddenly unemployed – no schedule, no deadlines, no crises – slows down the passage of time and one’s perception of time. Without the daily regimen of scheduled calls, I’ll admit that last Friday I couldn’t remember if it were Thursday or Friday. Last week for me was, at least professionally, my transition week (my last actual day of employment being Wednesday); today I begin my first full week of “the next life”. With the severance package I’ve received there’s certainly no rush for me to jump in and start beating the bricks. Still, I’m a disciplined kind of a guy who needs to have some kind of schedule to keep himself sane, so I’ve kind of laid out a strategy for the month of April that will not just allow me the chance to decompress from the meat-grinder of the last few years, but still have some kind of a schedule or regimen to follow.

So at 7:30 AM every day I’ll be getting up to feed Peach the rabbit and get the coffee turned on, thus enabling Tracey to maintain her own workday schedule. If I feel like it, I’ll go back to bed for a couple of hours before getting up and having breakfast. If I don’t, I won’t.

Breakfast. A luxury I was never allowed to have during my previous life. After all, with calls starting at 7 AM most days and pretty much running through at the very least mid-morning, I never thought about breakfast. Not that I was ever much of a breakfast guy, but one of my goals during this new phase of my life is to try and eat healthier, so I’m going to start my day with a leisurely breakfast (probably on the back patio) to kind of let the day unwind before me. After breakfast I’ll take a brisk walk around the neighborhood – not only to allow me to clear my head and plan my day out, but also it’s a habit I can retain even when the heat arrives (the mornings still be tolerable, even on the hottest days).

After my walk, I figure I’ll pour myself another cup of Joe and work the unemployed angle. Starting this week I’ll be beefing up my LinkIn account profile, bringing all my prior employment history up to date, poking around at the job opportunities that come my way, and checking non-IT related opportunities for either part-time or full time work that I might wish to test out. I’ve already got a company called Poolwerx (for learning the pool maintenance business) and the UPS Store (I’ve always loved the UPS Store) on my list, along with Visiting Angels or something similar along the senior assistance line. As for the latter, I’ve been thinking of something like VA for a long time, the idea being that when my time of “taking” was over I should start doing a little of giving back. I’ve always enjoyed being around elderly folk, so that’s something I plan on looking into.

Once this stay-at-home business is over I plan on volunteering at Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary (a.k.a. The Bunny Basics) once a week. I’m thinking about hanging a shingle out for doing in-home rabbit care for folks who don’t want to board their rabbits while they go away. Obviously, no one’s going anywhere nowadays, but again, all these things that I’m doing now are all designed for planting seeds. I’ve also set up my own LLC consulting firm, TGWS Consulting, that I plan to hang out a shingle for in case I want to go the IT consulting route. I look at this time in my life as a time to explore new opportunities and not say yes or no to anything – after 17 1/2 years in my prior situation I think I deserve at least that.

This week I plan on returning my former work office back to a spare bedroom. Now that I won’t be spending much – if any – time in that room, it’s not fair to Peach to spend his days all alone, so we’ve moved him to his new digs in our home office. Not only will he benefit from a larger space, but he’ll have company both during the day and at night. As an added benefit, because the office is at the end of the hallway that connects the east and west sides of the house, he’ll now be able to witness the natural ebb and flow of people in the house, as opposed to only having company whenever I was working. So that will be a good change for him.

It’s hard to believe that it was only eleven days ago when I was let go. It seems like it has been a month already, the time has passed by so slowly. Like I say, if I didn’t have that severance package to keep me afloat through the end of August I’d be feeling about things a whole lot differently. While the meat-grinder was rough, it was my meat-grinder, and I miss the people who were part of of my professional family for so many years. It sucks, but I chosen to embrace the suck and create a new life for myself. I won’t deny there aren’t momentary pangs of unease, but there’s also a sense of excitement as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:31 | Comments Off on Embracing The Suck
April 4, 2020

A few random thoughts on this “Coronavirus Crackdown” weekend:

When all of this is said and done I believe a lot of people are going to be even more pissed off at the media and the way they’ve whipped up the hysteria of this virus than they already are, if that is possible. In particular, to watch the way the White House reporters have acted during the President’s daily task force briefings has been an embarrassment; by seeking to one-up each other in their opposition (and in some cases, outright hostility) to the President and his task force members has not been either informational or helpful to anyone who has lost loved ones or their their jobs or businesses as a result of the Coronavirus.

…but it’s not just the White House reporters and the usual suspects in the national media who have been doing this; there are others whom I have normally enjoyed and trusted on the internet (in particular, Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds and Jack Posobiec, who both seem to have dove head-first into believing as gospel the worst of the doomsday models, whipping up daily doses of panic and frenzy with sensational headlines and posts. Knowing Reynolds’ track record of healthy cynicism regarding most things and his commitment to getting the word out on things like disaster preparedness I would have expected a bit of at least lukewarm water being tossed on the hysteria; in the case of Posobiec, while I give him credit for raising the awareness of the virus’s lethal capabilities as a result of his China knowledge and experience at the outset of the pandemic, he completely lost my respect with his over the top, gloom-and-doom posts that have (in my view) contributed in no small part to a lot of the hysteria you now find all over Twitter.

…on the other hand, Powerline blog has been a must-read during this crisis – not only are they reporting the numbers with a healthy dose of realism, their writers have not been afraid to be asking the kinds questions no one else seems interested in asking. And the same with Styxhexenhammer666’s YouTube channel and the Conservative Treehouse blog – all of which are striving to report what is actually happening vs. the breathless hysteria of the mainstream media. I highly recommend adding all to your daily new and information gathering, if only for more balanced and reasoned approach relating to “disease” vs. “cure”. For example, as CT’s Sundance writes:

For every media claim of overwhelmed hospital war-zones, there are a dozen reports from actual workers, nurses, doctors and medical personnel reporting exactly the opposite; and yes, a disparity in reporting even in the New York metropolitan area.

Medical personnel in Wisconsin, Missouri, California, Florida, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia New Jersey, and every region in the USA are reporting there are few to no patients in their facility and the medical staff is being laid-off, or told to go home and/or stay home, because there is nothing to do.

How the heck is this level of profound disconnect possible?

If you google (or duck duck) search: “medical personnel laid-off”, or “nurses sent home” there are thousands of various reports showing hospitals and treatment centers essentially devoid of any patients. There are videos of hospitals on social media showing empty medical treatment floors, empty ICU units, empty waiting rooms, empty x-ray labs, and workers waiting for something to do…

Obviously, the collective -albeit anecdotal- reports do not fit with the 24/7 media claims of “war zones” and PTSD suffering medical workers so overwhelmed they are now committing suicide because they cannot cope.

But back to my comments relating to Posobiec, this is one of the things I’ve learned during this crisis: Twitter as a forum is doing far more harm and than good when it comes to disseminating information. Nothing seems to be in context, and every outlandish rumor of people dying in the streets and bodies stacked up everywhere is treated as fact. Which, BTW, has made the President’s job far more difficult and than it should be. Look, I get it that a lot of folks on the left hate Trump and there is nothing he can ever do to change that, but to use a social media platform to spread disinformation and whip up hysteria about the Coronavirus is simply unconscionable. I guess I thought during a time of crisis we as a country would try to listen to the better angels of our nature, but I guess that was expecting too much.

One of the questions I’ve been asking from the start is why both the White House and others seem to be treating the IHME model predicting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the U.S. as gospel; one would think the White House reporters would show less interest in attacking everything the President says and more interest in the data, parameters, and assumptions that went into that model – after all, hasn’t that model been the driving motivation behind all the measures being taken at every level of government currently in the process of destroying our economy?

…I mean, when have the so-called “experts” – be they scientists, professionals, and/or pollsters – gotten anything right? Think about it: whenever something happens with the economy, be it positive or negative, it is always presented as something “unexpectedly”. The news regarding climate change as predicted by so-called experts over the past fifty years has almost always been wrong – remember Michael Mann’s flawed (I would argue totally bogus) “hockey stick”? And how about those so-called “experts” when it came to polling during the 2016 election? Heck, even today they haven’t learned: they’re still using outdated (or, I might suggest, deliberately flawed) models that juice up the numbers for Democrats and against Republicans and Trump.

…given the above, then, why aren’t folks being more questioning and careful about distinguishing between the reported Coronavirus death rates and the actual ones, and how and why some folks appear to get it more than others? And I’m not talking just the numbers of reported cases, but the deaths that can directly blamed on Coronavirus. For example, why aren’t we making a bigger deal about the number of hospital admissions and discharges on a daily basis? Or the number of people who have died without preconditions vs. those having preconditions? Wouldn’t you want to know the actual risk of death to otherwise-healthy people as opposed to making the cure worse than the disease itself? One would think the medical community out there would be just as concerned with publishing accurate data as opposed to so much speculation going on out there. To that end, this interview with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University is a must-watch. We need the data, and everyone is freaking out and destroying the economy without knowing the data. It’s absurd.

…I guess what I’m saying is that when all this is over, this country need to take a cold, hard look at how we got to the point of wrecking our economy and the lives of millions of people – a number far worse than anything the Coronavirus will ever do, not of caution, but outright and irrational fear. And while this might sound cold and harsh, I think we’re also going to have to take a good, hard look at both the homelessness issue and the obesity rate of our population – for the former instituting a “no tolerance” agenda and clearing the streets, for the latter have the medical community start treating obesity more aggressively than we have to date. I guarantee you that the death rate associated with the Coronavirus are heavily skewed by folks with preconditions directly related to diet, social habits, and obesity. I know I would be truly interested in seeing those numbers, I’m sure others would be as well.

And finally, The one thing I’m noticing that few others (at least in the media are) is the performance of states with Democratic governors as opposed to those with Republican governors. I mean, is their a more ineptly run state than New York? And not just during this crisis but well before it. Sure, its density of population would make it a natural hot spot for the Coronavirus, but Andrew Cuomo’s performance has only highlighted just how poorly-prepared the state was and how poorly-managed it has been run in the years leading up to this crisis. And compare and contrast, say, the performance of New York’s Cuomo, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and Virginia’s Ralph Northam with those of Arizona’s Doug Ducey, Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Texas’ Greg Abbott. One one hand you have ineptitude, finger-pointing and overreaction; on the other hand responses that are more deliberate, measured, and responsible.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 17:42 | Comments Off on Weekending
April 2, 2020

So I’m officially free of the meat-grinder and I’m feeling pretty good about things. I was a little worried that converting my LinkedIn account from my employer address to my home address would be difficult, but was able to accomplish it with a minimum of back-and forth between the home office and my business office. Today I’ll be officially filing for unemployment and will start up TGWS Consulting, my own business I plan to use for who knows what – if I want to stay in the IT industry it will be a perfect vehicle for doing so; if I want to go in other directions it might be helpful as well. My current plans for April are to use the month for strengthening my LinkedIn network and planting as many seeds as possible.

I must be pretty damned tired without knowing it: after opening the door for the electrician to begin work swapping out our main box (there was something overheating behind the circuit box), I laid back down and slept to noon – something I would (or could) never have imagined doing in my former employment situation! I’m just going to let my body tell me what it wants to do over the next month.

A pet peeve: all these celebrities and folks using John Lennon’s “Imagine” as some kind of anthem of hope. Anthem of hope? You’ve got to be shitting me! Granted, the melody is lovely, and I always found the video of Lennon’s performance particularly poignant with its movement from darkness to light. Yeah, I get it. But the words themselves are, to be brutally frank, the equivalent of dishwater – socialist, idealistic drivel that not even the most ardent socialist would ever be willing to ascribe to. Don’t believe me?

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

No heaven or hell? No religion? No possessions? Basically, what Lennon’s words are saying is there is nothing worth believing in. PERIOD. What kind of an existence would that be? I still remember hearing Lennon’s words when I first got the album back in 1971. And even then, at hearing Lennon’s plea to “imagine no possessions”, I remember myself saying, “you first, John”, knowing he had for himself quite the nice existence as a result of his Beatles existence.

…And that’s the same thing I say to all you liberals and progressives out there – most especially when it comes to climate change and all this “Green New Deal” bullshit. Me? I’ll believe climate change is real when I hear about all those Hollywood celebrities foregoing their carbon-burning private jets and limos. And I’ll believe your cries for open borders when you stop locking your doors at night and all those Hollywood celebrities forego their gated communities and walled-in mansions. It’s all so much bullshit.

…look, I’m no paragon of virtue by any means, but I’m no hypocrite. With The Great White Shank you see what you get.

Happened upon a video of Linda Ronstadt singing “It’s So Easy” back in her heyday and am reminded of just how great and versatile a singer she was. She literally could sing (and has) sung everything from country to pop to pop standards, to mariachi, to classical Cuban. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say she’s one of the greatest singers of our time. I don’t think she’s under-appreciated – lots of folks know how good she was – but I wonder if you’re sitting around a hotel room bed and, say, debating whether Steely Dan was a great band or not (they weren’t), if you were to ask those assembled to name the greatest pop singer of all time I wonder if anyone would mention Ronstadt’s name. I would say she would certainly consider merit.

…I still remember seeing her on the Boston Common back in the late 70s. She came out looking drop-dead cute (if there ever was a definition of cute in the Webster’s they would have had a picture of Ronstadt by it!) in a Girl Scout outfit and blowing away the crowd with that mother-f’in’ tight band of hers: Russ Kunkel on drums, Kenny Edwards on bass, Waddy Wachtel, Danny Kortchmar, and/or Andrew Gold on on guitar, Billy Payne on keyboards, and Peter Asher on vocals. These guys were not only the cream of L.A. musicians during the mid-to-late ’70s, but with Ronstadt hanging around the Troubador bar were ultimately for bringing the Eagles together.

…Ronstadt’s voice was a true instrument: she could sing it straight, falsetto, sweetly, and growl and purr almost effortlessly. What a treasure!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:26 | Comments Off on Thursday Thoughts

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