September 9, 2021

Greetings, earthlings, cats, and chicks! The Great White Shank here with some exciting news. After tossing every kind of idea around as to what to do with the Goodboys Nation website and all of its content, I’ve decided to keep it around but relaunch it as The Great White Shank Blog – A heady mix of Culture, Politics, Golf, and Stuff.

Truth be told, I’ve needed some time away – not just from blogging, but basically life in general – as I complete the 1 1/2 year-long transition from my IT career to retirement, or whatever might come next, while playing the role of “Pool Guy” for a nationwide swimming pool retail chain. Well, that time is (thankfully) coming to an end, and I’ve started feeling the urge to get back to writing as The Great White Shank. But how and where? I despise all the social media platforms for the sewer they’ve all become, so, after tossing various ideas around for the past month or so, returning to blogging seems like the preferable way to go. I’m not alone in that sentiment, BTW – lots of folks who abandoned blogging for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are starting to come around to the same way of thinking. So what was old will be increasingly new again, and I’m glad to be a part of that trend.

I’ll be working with my DreamHost hosting platform technicians on a new design that will keep the site and its years of content intact. Those who use “Goodboys Nation” or “The Great White Shank” for searching will be directed to this same site.

So look for a late October / early November relaunch.

So tell your maw!
Tell your paw!
Tell all the folks back in Arkansas: The Great White Shank will be back to blogging soon!

Now back to playing “Pool Guy”.

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April 1, 2021

Gab has become to socially woke for me to remain involved with it. In addition, it’s time for me to retire “The Great White Shank” as a personal and social media alias. That period of my life – including my tenure as a Goodboy – is over, so it’s time to just grow up and be me. Those were great times, but all things must pass. You will find me still alive and kicking at CloutHub under @DougRichard. Hope to see you there!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:02 | Comments Off on Correction: Follow Me on CloutHub
December 31, 2020

“Silence often says much more
Than trying to say what’s been said before.”
— George Harrison, “That is All”

…which is why I chose this humble, yet majestic, closing track from his 1973 “Living in the Material World” release to announce that I’m shutting down the Goodboys Nation blog for good.

It’s time.

Hard to believe I’ve been doing this blog for nearly fourteen years. Fourteen years. That’s a long time! Heck, I was just fifty-one at the time. George W. Bush was POTUS. I still remember working with the DreamHost web-hosting team from my Gateway Center work cubicle to put it all together as if it were yesterday. Had someone told me when I made the very first post around the 27th of January 2006 (somehow the first few have been lost to antiquity courtesy of one of the WordPress or DreamHost server upgrades) I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are.

Originally, the idea of the having the blog was to try and eliminate all the e-mails going back and forth between the Goodboys at the time – social media not anything near what it is today, and blogs were, at the time au courant: they were how one socially communicated over the internet. I figured all the guys could use the blog to communicate and write whatever else came to their minds for informational and entertainment purposes. That idea never took off – the Goodboys still prefer e-mail as the primary form of communication – but I enjoyed the prospect of writing just for the sake of it so the blog ended up as my vehicle for commenting on the ways and the whims of the world.

Initially, I did a lot of posts on western religion (primarily, the Episcopal Church and Protestantism in general), and I wish I wasn’t proven right about my views on liberalism’s ultimate goal of destroying the Christian Church and the nuclear family. One only has to see the current state of both and how precarious our situation is without the strong foundations of both to guide and protect our culture and traditional values. And it was fun to write about golf, politics, and music, or to just be silly and let my imagination run away for the fun of it. And it was really cool to get comments from people I used to know many years prior who had somehow come upon a blog post in their travels.

But the writing was on the wall the very moment I decided to formally retire from being a Goodboy this past July. I hadn’t really thought of ending the blog until one of my fellow Goodboy friends commented about me writing things on a blog referencing the Goodboys that didn’t reflect his views and opinions. And while the saying goes, “once a Goodboy, always a Goodboy”, it got me thinking that perhaps he was right, especially since I wasn’t an active Goodboys participant anymore. And especially since the whole blogging thing had increasingly become more of a chore and less of an exercise in creative writing. I found myself writing to “feed the blog” more than anything else, and I had reached a point where I was basically repeating the same themes over and over again – as Harrison’s lyric alludes to, saying what has been said before.

I mean, how many times can one write about the abject hypocrisy of liberals and Democrats who espouse the virtues of acceptance, tolerance, and diversity when they’re the very ones who seek to destroy anyone who, regardless of their race, creed, or color, doesn’t adhere to their own rigid orthodoxies regarding abortion, immigration, globalism, COVID-19, climate change, etc. etc. etc. Don’t believe me? Just look at how conservatives are being treated by major media and the Big Tech companies: if you don’t kow-tow to their belief systems you get shut out or risk getting shut down. I used to think these people were simply misguided; after a year of enforced lockdowns, nanny-state mandatory mask-wearing, and the media covering up the reprehensible actions of Democratic governors responsible for murdering tens of thousands of elderly citizens by placing COVID-19 patients in nursing homes and assisted-living communities, I have come to see them as evil.

And while I enjoy writing about the music I listen to and and my music collections, who really cares, anyways? I’m a dinosaur who knows he’s a dinosaur and is comfortable being a dinosaur. I’m not in that regard I’m entertaining anyone else but myself. The same holds true as far as my golf game is concerned: it’s a constant struggle and will always be a struggle, but heck, 98% of all golfers struggle with their game, so what’s the big deal there?

At some point it all starts to become a bit stale. Never mind the fact that when one turns 65 there’s only so much left to write about and time left to write about it. Whenever the inevitable health issues arise I don’t want to feel an obligation to have to blog about chemo treatments, coronary angioplasties, broken hips, or lengthy hospital stays. No, there comes a point where a body of work written over nearly fourteen years, for better or for worse, has to be allowed to stand on its own as a period piece. And after the kind of year we’ve all collectively had, it seems the right time to call it a day.

I haven’t decided if I will resurface in some form or another in another social media venue. I quit Twitter because it’s a cesspool and a reflection of the worst of human behavior. I enjoy writing, but I don’t enjoy seeing things going down the tubes as I believe things will in 2021. I truly believe things are about to get very dark, far darker than anyone of us in my age group might ever have imagined. I am extremely pessimistic about everything and anything associated with this country and its institutions, and I don’t relish the thought of commenting about the so-called “American Experience” as it disappears over the horizon. Because, to be frank, under a Biden / Harris administration ruled by the “Deep State” globalists in Washington and protected by a media and the “Big Tech” companies actively stifling any form of dissent, we are fucked. So instead of feeling the need to write about it, I’ll satisfy myself with playing “pool supply guy”, enjoy watching the sparrows flittering and fighting around the bird feeder, ride my bike around the neighborhood, maybe work on my golf game, and try to enjoy the remaining years I have left as “off the grid” as I possibly can.

In closing, I want to express my deepest tanks and sincere appreciation to all of you who over the years made this place one of your regular (or at least occasional) stops in your internet travels. I hope I have at least entertained you in what I have written over these past fourteen years. You may not have agreed with everything I have written, but (most especially with the posts involving work back in early 2018), I never lied to you and always wrote honestly from my soul. It might not always have been pretty and/or entertaining, but it was always from the heart.

Of course, the blog itself isn’t going anywhere; it will be kept around for posterity’s sake as long as I pay the hosting costs, which I will continue to do. I will, however, be shutting off the comments feature after a week’s time – I’m not willing to pay a monthly fee to keep the spammers away and they’re currently inundating the site to the point where it takes valuable time to clean them up on a regular basis. Besides, one of these days, perhaps when I’m much older, it might be interesting to go through the posts over the years to see what I was doing at the time and get melancholy at the posts of all the bunnies we took home and then said farewell to years later. Of course, y’all can still contact me with a call, text, or e-mail. And if I do end up on some other social media platform I’ll put up a post telling y’all where that might be. It won’t be anytime soon, however – I’m ready for break.

Thank you for allowing me onto your computer screens over these past fourteen years, it’s been an interesting ride.

That is all.

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Well, what a wild ride this year turned out to be. As with most years, there were plenty of endings and beginnings, with, unfortunately, the endings taking precedence – at least for us here in the Richard household. And, as y’all will see, there is one more ending to come. But then to add the whole COVID-19 bullshit on top of everything else, it made 2020 just a wearying, stressful year in so many ways. Between the lock-downs, the mask-wearing, working from home, kids at home learning remotely, and not least the presidential election, everyone seems fried. I see it in peoples’ faces when they come into the store and we start talking – most folks feel that they’ve been patient and willing to do their part, but the goalposts keep getting moved and there is zero faith in what the so-called “experts” have been saying; the level of trust in all of our institutions – most especially government and the media has collapsed.

(Personally, I think we’re in very dangerous territory, and I think 2021 is going to be the year of the Big Pushback, with a political reckoning coming in the 2022 midterms. Our tin-eared politicians in Washington don’t realize the fire they are playing with and there’s an economic reckoning coming next year when commercial real estate collapses and the banks get crushed as a result. It is going to be ugly. But I digress.)

It was a bad year for the rabbits, as we lost Marlie in early February, and Tammy’s Butterscotch in July. Both weren’t exactly unexpected, as they were both up there in terms of bunny years, but it was painful nevertheless. Of course, the best way to remember the rabbits you have lost is to saddle up and just bring in some new ones, and plans are already underway to bring three new baby rabbits into our house in just a couple of weeks once I get my old office cleaned out.

Ah, the office. Which brings me to the greatest change of the year, which was getting laid off from my healthcare IT job at the end of March. Never in a million years could I have imagined at this time last year that I’d be playing a pool supply retail guy at the end of 2020. But it has turned out better than I ever could have expected. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to make it to 2022 and formally retire when I turned 67, but I got a great severance that eased the pain and allowed me to find something that I could enjoy doing without all the stress. Sure, the pay isn’t great – it isn’t even good – and I’ve lost a certain amount of freedom to come and go as I choose (there’s no more “have laptop, will travel”), but for right now, at age 65 and less than a year away from my Social Security full retirement age I have the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with people and still make money doing something I enjoy without any stress. There aren’t too many people who can say that, I’ll tell you!

And there were also those blessings that we all try not to take for granted. We all got through the year without any major health issues, we all avoided getting the Chinese virus, and I’m especially grateful that my dad back in Massachusetts and his retirement community were spared. Financially we find ourselves in as good a place as we’ve ever been, and we avoided any major calamities as far as the house is concerned. A great joy of the year is the bird feeder I hung in the backyard under the Mesquite tree; we now have birds everywhere and they’re eating us out of house and home! Their fussing and constant chattering has brought the backyard to life and made morning coffee on the patio a time to cherish and behold.

One additional ending that 2020 brought was my official retirement as a member of the Goodboys. It was a long time coming, as I hadn’t really enjoyed the last couple of Goodboys Invitational weekends. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for all the COVID-19 bullshit and the increased hassle of travel I might just have seen it through to #30 in terms of years. But it ended up being a good decision; I couldn’t get motivated to work on my golf game, and whenever I tried to it went off the rails in a big way. Had I participated it would have been a disaster, at least golf-wise. I honestly don’t know how much, or even if, I’ll play in 2021. We’ll just have to see if I can generate some interest.

I don’t really have any goals or hopes for 2021. Just try to stay healthy and play everything by ear, I guess. I’ve committed to playing pool supply guy at least through the end of next year, but it’s also reassuring to know that if something were to arise in any way, manner, shape or form I can just walk away without it killing ourselves financially. It’s a good gig, but in the quiet times when I’ve had a chance to just sit and think about where I am and what I am, I realize I still haven’t come to terms with the loss of my healthcare IT career on someone else’s terms and not mine. Of course, it was going to happen inevitably, but the way it happened and what I’m doing right now just seems to reinforce how old I have become and what the coming years will inevitably bring. I guess I’m just not ready to be this old – it’s just puzzling to me where all the years of gone. Whether or not those years were navigated wisely isn’t the question – one only has one life and you live it the best you can; it’s just I can feel my world circle and world view shrink just a little smaller with each passing day. I guess all one can do is push back against it as much as I can, while I can.

At any rate, that’s it for 2020. Normally, this is the point where I’d be asking George Harrison’s “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” to help ring out the old and ring in a new year of blogging, but this year I’m choosing a different Harrison song.

To be continued…

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 05:30 | Comments Off on Auld Lang Syne
December 15, 2020

[Ed. note: All traditions, sooner or later, must end. So this will be my last “holiday tribute” to the greatest rock n’ roll Christmas album of all time. I long for the innocence of 1963, the year Phil put this holiday gem together. Boy, is that long gone! Still, after the year everyone has had, if there’s some traditional Christmas cheer to be handed out, who am I to stand in the way?]

That’s right, cats and chicks of all ages, it’s that time of year again. I know the guy’s still sitting in a prison cell, whacked out, burned out, and for all intents and purposes checked out of society and the rock n’ roll world he was once such an iconic part of. But heck, it is the Christmas season and I know it’s not REALLY Christmas until I slap into my CD player the best damned rock n’ roll Christmas record of all time. Which is (for those of you cats and chicks who may not be hip to these kinds of grooves), Phil Spector’s magnificent “A Christmas Gift For You”.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s just The Great White Shank spoutin’ his “yeah-i-know-he’s-in-jail-for-murder-but-believe-me-Phil-Spector-really-was-a-genius” bull$hit, but in this case you need to give me a break. ‘Cause it’s not just me, it’s a whole range of critics across the media spectrum, from Rolling Stone (who rated it #142 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time), to bloggers like Hip Christmas and BlogCritics. BC’s praise of the album and its greatness is especially spot-on:

A Christmas Gift For You contains thirteen performances, all captured during that incredible early sixties period when Spector was producing these amazing records. You already know all of the songs, as they have all become tried and true radio staples at Christmas time over the years. Song for song, the wall of sound production — with all of its bells, whistles, and strings — captures all the magic and wonder of Christmas like very little music I can think of. When you hear these songs, it’s like being instantly transported to a kinder, simpler time. It really does feel like Christmas.

In addition to the Ronettes and Crystals classics already mentioned, the standouts here include Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and a version of “White Christmas” so gorgeous you’ll be checking your window for snowflakes. On Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans’ “The Bells of Saint Mary,” the bells and the castanets ring gloriously amid a swirl of gospel-charged backing vocals.

So the thing is, Phil Spector’s recent legal troubles aside, this record just doesn’t sound any different to me. For my money, it’s still the single greatest Christmas record ever made. And tougher sell that it may be these days, it will definitely be on my CD player when the guys and I get together for some Christmas cheer next weekend.

For me, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.

The album, considered by many to be Spector’s finest piece of collective work (The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby”, The Righteous Brothers’ “(You’ve Lost That) Lovin’ Feelin'”, and, of course, Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” being singular achievements), had a bumpy ride on the road to becoming a much-loved and respected holiday pop classic. Originally recorded during the summer and fall of 1963, it was understandably overlooked in those tragic weeks following the assassination of JFK and then virtually forgotten. It was only until its re-introduction to the public on the Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1971 – at the urging of John Lennon and George Harrison (both of whom utilized Spector on their first post-Beatles’ solo albums following his work on Let It Be) – that the album got radio play and finally earned its long-deserved place in pop music history.

So what exactly is it about A Christmas Gift For You that makes it both a holiday pop classic and a piece of work sufficient enough to warrant recognition among rock’s all-time greatest works? David Sprague, in his review, puts it simply: “[Spector’s] “wall-of-sound” technique is perfectly suited to the music of the season, as he proves with layer upon layer of piano, sleigh bells, buoyant percussion, and, of course, those legendary Spectorsound harmonies.”

True enough, but it’s only after you buy it and crank it up VERY loud that you start to appreciate not just the massive sound Spector lovingly and painstakingly crafted, but the way his session players and musical artists make the most out of the material given them. Here, Spector’s artists The Crystals, The Ronettes, Darlene Love, and Bobby Sheen are simply vocal instruments in the overall mix, working within the material and the arrangements, not overpowering them. Listen closely, and you begin to see how the subtleties within each arrangement illustrate Spector’s respect for both the material and the genre that brought him such fame and respect in his day:

* On “White Christmas”, Darlene Love’s lead is beautifully understated (something virtually unheard of in this post-Whitney armageddon of Britneys and Christinas who sound like wailing alleycats in heat). And listen to how the pianos, basses, and saxes (alto and tenor) underscore the rhythm, and how beautifully they finish the song’s fade-out. Magical.

* On “Frosty The Snowman”, Ronnie Spector takes a harmless children’s tune and turns it into a holiday pop masterpiece. Her earnest vocal is the showpiece here – think ‘Frosty’ meets ‘Be My Baby’, with enough warmth and sweetness to turn ‘the Frostster’ into a puddle of lukewarm H2O. Loved hearing it in that iconic scene in GoodFellas where Jimmy goes nuts with everyone buying expensive stuff after the Lufthansa heist.

* On “The The Bells of St. Mary’s“, Bobby Sheen’s lead is sweet and soulful out in front of a driving rhythm highlighted by chimes and Hal Blaine‘s amazing drumwork on the fade-out. Oh, and that’s Darlene Love doing the “yeah, yeah”‘s towards the end.

* The Crystals’ version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” rejuvenated the classic so much so that the artists as varied as the Jackson 5 (ugh!) and Bruce Springsteen, among others, felt it necessary to pay it homage with their own versions. Listen for how the bells tinkle out Brahms’s Lullaby behind La La Brooks’ spoken intro – talk about attention to detail!

* On “Sleigh Ride” The Ronettes give a big fat wet kiss to Leroy Anderson’s classic arrangement; their now-classic “ring-a-ling-a-ling-a-ding-dong-ding” back-up is pure icing on this sweet holiday confection.

* “Marshmallow World” is a fun piece – dig the opening piano with an absolute ton of echo on it. And listen to how the saxes underscore the piano/guitar rhythm – you’re talkin’ Wall of Sound here, baby! The mix has always sounded a little muddy to me, but I think that’s just the sheer number of musicians playing at the same time – Phil always did his mixing live while the entire ensemble was playing. Darlene Love’s vocal is energetic and playful, a great performance.

* “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. You don’t get the #2 slot on my Top 10 Christmas list for nothing. Simply put, there is nothing wanting in this recording – the performances are top-notch throughout. Ronnie Spector’s lead is both devilish and sexy, and the arrangement rocks. Listen for the piano fills and the sleighbells workin’ behind the saxes. It almost sounds as if Ronnie is slurring her s’s here (‘kishing’ Santa Claus); I think she’s doing it deliberately so I fall in love with her voice all over again every year at this time.

* On “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, listen for the guitar riff (Tommy Tedesco? Barney Kessel?) that frames the song throughout, a style similar to what Brian Wilson would later employ on The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” a couple of years later. There’s also a piano (and guitar?) doing something funky from the instrumental break onward, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is.

* “Winter Wonderland” is a faithful and fun rendition. Listen for those trademark shimmering strings featured throughout – they sound kinda funky to me – and how drummer Hal Blaine absolutely beats the daylights out of his toms on every fill. Darlene Love’s vocal is both soulful and fun. A magnificent arrangement.

* “Parade of The Wooden Soldiers”. OK, listen to how the strings behind The Crystals’ rollicking performance absolutely shimmer like glistening snow, especially behind the trumpet solo in the middle. No one – and I mean NO ONE – could make Christmas pop music like Phil Spector. (If you doubt me, just listen to John & Yoko’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”) Again, Hal Blaine’s drum fills on the fade-out are pretty intense.

* “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)”. Arguably the showpiece of the album. If you want a true holiday audio feast, come inside Mr. Spector’s kitchen where everything – including the kitchen sink – has been tossed in here. Shimmering strings and double acoustic bass (how does he get that sound?) create the necessary tension, then horns introduce a TOTALLY PUMPED and unleashed Darlene Love vocal that leaves nothing – and I do mean NOTHING – in the tank. The grand build-up to close the song is classic Spector: layers and layers of guitar, piano, strings, and percussion back the call-and-answer vocals between Love and the backup singers (a seventeen-year-old Cher‘s voice can be clearly heard) until the tension is finally released in a tidal wave of vocal calisthenics, soaring strings, drum fills, and piano arpeggios. Simply put, one of the great pop vocal performances of all time.

* “Here Comes Santa Claus” is anticlimactic following Love’s tour de force, but it’s to Bobby Sheen’s credit that his straight, if understated, reading becomes the showpiece on this song. The trumpet solo in the middle has a ringing, jazzy touch to it which compliments Sheen’s soulful vocal.

What truly makes A Christmas Gift For You such a remarkable achievement is the success Spector achieved in fusing together what was then a radical way of interpreting familiar holiday songs without, as he would write in the album’s liner notes, “losing for a second the feeling of Christmas and without destroying or invading the sensitivity and the beauty that surrounds all of the great Christmas music.” More than anything else, Spector respected the music he was trying to interpret as his own. In the end, this is what makes this work an enduring classic for the ages.

So a final “Merry Christmas” to you Phil. Sure, you learned the hard way that tequila and gunplay can be a lethal combination, and in your pre-prison life you were an arrogant and wacko genius, but you’re still, and will always be, one of my musical heroes. I wish you all the best in the rest of the life you have left. You’re contributions to rock n’ roll will surely be forgotten over time – as we all will – but while it was good for you it was very good. I hope you find the joy your music brought to so many of us over time to be of some comfort.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:17 | Comments Off on My Final Holiday Ode To St. Phil
November 24, 2020

In the end, the decision turned out not to be that hard at all. A couple of weeks ago I could feel my store manager starting to feel me out about taking on the assistant manager role at the store. The district manager (his boss) was very keen on him trying to convince me to accept the position, but I wasn’t really interested.

“So let’s just say you’re still looking for IT work and let’s just say you’re not interested in the assistant manager role. All that being said, what would it take for you to consider the position?”

I tell him I don’t want to work more than 30 hours a week except in the case of an emergency.


I tell him I don’t want to work two full weekend days. Like, ever.

“Well, Saturdays are tough, as you know. How about you only work Saturdays until, say, 1 PM. No later.”

I tell him I’ll take it under consideration. And I want more money, no more minimum wage for me. At least a couple more bucks an hour.

“I can make that happen.”

I tell him I don’t work with Ed (current assistant manager), like, at all. The guy’s a pain in the ass who likes to bust balls just for the sake of it. I’ll accept ball-busters in the IT industry because that’s just how the game is played. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to have my balls busted by a friggin’ retail guy.

“Marc (district manager) wants to move Ed to another store as a manager. May God have mercy on their souls.”

Aahhhhhh I….don’t…..know.

“Think about it. We’d make a great team.”

I said I would and would get back to him by end of week. I spent the next two days thinking about things. Tracey and I talked about it and we felt comfortable with the fact that with my pension starting in December and her job the way it is, the money I’d be bringing in would be more than enough to help us keep building up our savings (not like it used to be, but yeah) and give us a cushion for any emergencies that might arise until I hit full retirement age in December 2021, so we’re only talking a year. And, if things go well I can keep masquerading as Pool Guy as long as I want.

But I still wasn’t sure.

Then, a day later, a cathartic moment. I was sitting under the happy pineapple lights enjoying my version of a Pusser’s Painkiller (emphasis on the rum, less fruit juice) when I just asked myself out loud why an old buck like me would want to go back into the IT meat grinder. “Look at you”, I said, “is that what you really want? You’re friggin’ 65 years old and you want to get back into all the bullshit that goes with a young man’s game with the long hours, the stress, the demanding clients, and deadlines? Right now the only stress you have is when some guy brings his beat up, pool chemical ravaged Hayward Phoenix in to have its guts replaced. How bad is that?”

I had to admit that the handful of IT jobs I had applied for over the past few weeks were not exactly done with enthusiasm. Trepidation was more like it. And, as Tracey had said multiple times, I’d paid my dues. Would the money I’d be making in IT make it all worthwhile? At one time – like, 15-20 years ago – the answer would be yes, but there comes a time, doesn’t it? And, as Dirty Harry once said, “a man’s got to know his limitations”. The (relatively) young buck who had dashed into my previous IT job seventeen years ago with both feet, ready to take on all comers, was long gone. The new alternative? Doing water tests, hauling 35-lb buckets of chlorine tabs and 40-lb bags of pool salt and sand for what so far has been a nice bunch of customers, repairing pool cleaners? It was pretty chill. And the manager is a great guy to work with. No bullshit. No stress.

That night I got the first good night’s rest in, like, three months.

I texted the manager the next day. “I’m in.” Two days later, Ed gets his long-sought after manager position at another store (may God have mercy on their souls) and I get a whopping $2.75 pay raise for the promotion to assistant store manager. Everyone’s happy.

Today I shut down all the notifications I was getting from LinkedIn and the handful of job sites I had subscribed to. It felt good. And right.


And speaking of embracing the chill, I hope y’all like what I did with my front pot. The Bunny Basics thrift store had a bunch of fake autumn leave for $.25 cents a pop, and I just hung them on a bunch of sticks I had collected last year. I think it came out looking really nice. Very autumnal, dontcha think?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 12:44 | Comments (2)
November 19, 2020

Been a while since my last post but it’s primarily because the past week or so has seen a return of “Pool Guy”. The assistant manager at my store took a vacation in Hawaii (how one can afford Hawaii on a pool store assistant manager’s salary is beyond me, but hey…), so I have been filling in for him. The district manager is pretty hot to move said assistant manager into a manager position at another store and has been pushing me – yes, me!, to take his position (he told me he “likes the cut of my jib”), but I was pretty firm in that I: (1) didn’t want to work more than 30 hours a week, (2) wouldn’t work two full weekend days (I’d be willing to work Saturday mornings) come next summer, and (3) I wanted a raise of at least $2 an hour. (What a greedy bastard, eh?) He was good with that, as was the store manager, but I don’t think the assistant likes hard work and the additional responsibility, so we’ll just leave things as is for the present time. It’s no big deal to me, believe me.

See, here’s how I look at things: I can start taking my full Social Security retirement age (FRA) in December 2021, so I just need another year to find a way to earn an additional 1-2K a month between this December 1 (when my pension from an IT gig long, long ago starts) and when I reach FRA. The easiest, less stressful thing would be to play Pool Guy for another year (or more). I could, of course, go back to working the IT meat grinder (I’ve already got some feelers out and have applied for a few positions), but I can’t help thinking is that the kind of thing I want to go back to at 65? So we’ll just have to see how this all plays out and take each day as it comes. If the assistant manager wants to stay where he is I’ll continue to look for IT jobs and also part-time work from home opportunities. If nothing shakes out between now and April, I’ll just play Pool Guy for another summer. Just take it a day at a time.

In other news…

I bought a bird feeder and hung it on a strategic location from the big mesquite tree in the back southwest corner and can’t figure out why I hadn’t thought of it sooner. It’s such a joy to take my morning coffee on the back patio and watch all the action and hear all the chit-chat going on. The sparrows are the main feeders, but they’re pretty messy eaters and they toss seed all over the place onto the rocks below. And that’s where our desert cardinals, mourning doves, and foo-foo birds get in on the action, crawling all over the rocks to dine. The other day was so sunny and tranquil that I put Pink Floyd’s “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” on the bluetooth for a perfect mellow compliment to the morning. It’s one of my all-time favorite Floyd tracks.

I read an articles like this and this, and you cannot tell me that “Slo’ Joe” Biden actually won the 2020 election:

How did Republicans pull that off? By winning almost every 2020 election in which control of redistricting was at stake:

The GOP kept control of the redistricting process in Texas by holding the state House. Given that Election Data Services estimates Texas will have 39 congressional seats for the next decade, this was arguably Republicans’ single biggest win of the 2020 election.

Republicans successfully defended the Pennsylvania legislature from a Democratic takeover, although they’ll still need to share redistricting power over its projected 17 congressional districts, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has veto power.

Republicans held the majority in both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, which will enable them to draw an expected 14 congressional districts all by themselves.
Amendment 1 passed in Virginia, taking the power to draw the state’s 11 congressional districts out of the hands of the all-Democratic state government and investing it in a bipartisan commission made up of a mix of citizens and legislators.

In Missouri (home to eight congressional districts), Gov. Mike Parson was elected to a second term, keeping redistricting control in Republican hands.
In an upset, Republicans managed to keep their majority in the Minnesota state Senate, thus ensuring Democrats wouldn’t have the unfettered ability to draw the state’s projected seven congressional districts. The parties will share redistricting responsibilities there.

The GOP kept control of the state House in Iowa, with its four congressional districts.

Republicans maintained their supermajorities in the Kansas Legislature, enabling them to pass a new congressional map (worth four districts) over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.
Finally, Republicans surprisingly flipped both the state Senate and state House in New Hampshire (worth two congressional districts), seizing full control of both the state government and the redistricting process.

Everything about this election looks like a Republican wave election, not the “Blue Wave” election so many in breathlessly predicted. Everywhere but for President. I wonder why?

Why? Because a massive, systemic fraud was implemented. Clearly, the votes for President Trump in the so-called “battleground states” was so overwhelming and unanticipated that several key states chose almost simultaneously (and mysteriously) to halt vote-counting in the early hours of November 4 so that the machines could be re-calibrated accordingly. And to be brutally honest, I don’t know if the work of citizen journalists doing the work the so-called “mainstream media” seems unwilling to do will be in and of itself enough to convince the Supreme Court to overturn the fraud that has taken place, but if Biden is indeed deemed the winner it will be a pyrrhic victory at best, since the “America First” agenda ignited by President Trump will only grow at the indignation of having the will of the people being overturned by massive election fraud. The fight is not over, and, 2020 being what it is, you can expect (trust me on this) some big things happening before the year’s end.

I’m back on a golf sabbatical for the foreseeable future. There’s really not much more I want to get out of the game at this point. And the same holds true for televised golf and Golf Channel – heck, I didn’t even know they played the Masters this past weekend until Tracey mentioned it. Outside of “The Dead Files” and “Maine Cabin Masters” both of which I watch with Tracey, what is there to watch on TV anymore?

So I’m reading my Kindle a lot (I’m presently working through Adele Abbott’s “Witch PI” series and anything by Andrew Wareham).

Well, that’s about it for now. Back to semi-retirement. 🙂 With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, I have bike rides to take, rooms to clean and job searches to do.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:11 | Comments Off on Catching Up
November 7, 2020

This is what the end of summer looks like here in the Valley of the Sun. It was bound to happen sooner or later, even after the kind of summer we have had here. I had just started falling asleep last night when a big whoosh of wind hit the house and a deluge of rain hit us for five minutes. After that? Nothing. But the temperatures have dropped here and it means great sleeping weather for the next five months. Arizona winter is upon us, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lots of folks are probably wondering about what I’m thinking as far as the election results are concerned. The fact of the matter is, the mainstream media can call elections in one person’s favor or another; last time I checked, it’s the Constitution that has the say here, and until “Slo’ Joe Biden has 270 electors who are willing to go on record to confirm his status as President-elect, Donald Trump is still the President of the United States. There is zero – zero – doubt in my mind that massive fraud took place on a wide scale; we’re all just going to have to sit back and let the court challenges have their way. It might go well for Trump. It may not. But I’m willing to let the legal battles have their way.

There are five givens no matter what happens from here on out:

1. They obviously don’t care about it, but FOX News has irreparably harmed their brand with their Election Night coverage. Martha MacCallum (who I still think is a fox, BTW) is nothing but a Trump-hating shrew, and Brett Baier lost all credibility to me for not questioning their Decision Ddesk’s calling of Arizona for Biden while not calling Georgia or North Carolina. Mark my words: Trump is going to win Arizona, and FOX News’ former viewers are leaving in droves, never to return. I can tell you I will never watch it ever again. Period. (Sorry, Greg Gutfeld and Tucker Carlson)

2. I was still awake when, within the course of 45 minutes, you had vote massive vote dumps of 100K or so for Biden in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. There is zero doubt in my mind Trump won those states. Sure, it’s going to be a difficult (though not inconceivable) reach, but I think he ends up winning all those states as long as a canvas – not a recount through the machines- is taken.

3. If Biden does indeed wins, he will be a lame duck from the moment he takes the oath of office. Not only will his administration be tarnished with the stain of election illegality, but the gains Republicans made in the House and – more importantly – down ballot in state legislatures – makes his status as a one-term president a virtual certainty. Whether he is re-elected or not, Donald Trump has ignited a populist movement in the United States that is not going to go away anytime soon. Democrats are going to find out in 2022 (and 2024) what a pyrrhic victory Biden’s was.

4. Keep in mind, Trump only has to win Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada to win re-election. Ask me in a week if I think this isn’t insurmountable given all the fraud that has taken place.

5. Isn’t it interesting that, even after the media proclaimed Biden the winner there wasn’t widespread rioting in cities across America? I guess that tells you everything you need to know about who the adults are in the room.

Oh, and to all you Trump haters out there: if you think The Great White Shank is having trouble sleeping, crying his eyes out, or seeking psychiatric help at the prospect of a Biden presidency, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You see, unlike you, I have a life outside of politics. My Hemingway daiquiris and Pusser’s Painkillers still taste as good, the mourning doves gathering in the late afternoon light on the wall by the pool fountain are still a joy to watch, and Pink Floyd still sounds good in the November daylight. Unlike you, my life doesn’t revolve around who happens to be the occupant in the White House at any given time. I have a life.

Man, did I get out of Massachusetts just in time.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:52 | Comments (2)
November 1, 2020

We’ve made it through Halloween and have reached the final weekend before Election Day. Don’t know about y’all, but we had a fairly steady stream of trick-or-treaters from dusk to 8 PM. Not as many as previous years but more than I though we would have during “these uncertain times”.

I know you’re all excited about my Election Day prediction; I will have it for you on Monday’s post after one last check with my own trusted sources (and hopefully a validation from my GOP party guy). There’s last-minute movement taking place and I want to make sure I try and catch it. Stay tuned!

R.I.P. Sean Connery. A great actor. His James Bond was certainly OK, but I liked him best in “The Rock” and “The Hunt For Red October”. One. Ping. Only.

So the supposedly “great” Nate Silver at 538 is only telling you today what The Great White Shank told you back in October. And for him to come out two days before the election with this tells me he’s now hedging his bets to save his reputation and suspects things are very bad for the Biden campaign.

Which doesn’t surprise me to any extent – the enthusiasm for the President is off the charts, to an extent that even the mainstream media pollsters are only now starting to admit to. There is no way they can look at their numbers against the no-longer anecdotal evidence from the size of the Trump rallies and the spontaneous parades breaking out all over the country on a daily basis and deny the reality out there.

Don’t believe me? A 96-mile Trump parade in Pima County, AZ? I was actually caught in the middle of a mini Trump parade on the 202 loop yesterday – a bunch of pickup trucks driven by 20-somethings. People honking at them all over the place. The enthusiasm for the President is real, which in turn will make voters originally planning to vote against him to either stay home or vote for him. I’ve always believed there are voters who feel better about voting for the person they think will win.

…not to mention the fact that there are clips all over the internet like this and this. Not only is there zero enthusiasm for Joe Biden – it’s all Trump Derangement Syndrome hatred – but it’s pretty clear what’s going on is tantamount to elder abuse. It’s not that Biden has just lost his fastball, he’s now the equivalent to Dr. Fauci on the mound. I wish I could say I feel sorry for the guy, but the fact is he’s a crook, and has always been a pathological liar and a clown.

…and his so-called “campaign” has been a joke that will be written about for years as to its incompetency. His basement campaign was nothing but a way to keep him and his mouth shielded from the public, with good reason. Their COVID-19 “fear porn” strategy has worked against them, leaving them overly-reliant on vote by mail; they’re just now realizing how important a ground game is. Begging for door-knockers the weekend before the election is not a good sign.

…which is why progressives are going to be beyond pissed off if Biden loses the election. It was the Washington power elites that forced Elizabeth Warren out of the primaries to make way for Biden to knock off Bernie Sanders, and the push-back against the likes of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is going to make the “Halloween” movies look like a garden party. I sure hope it happens because I’ll need all the popcorn I can get to enjoy the show.

If you live in a “blue” state you need to be watching carefully what is going on all over Europe. I have little doubt that you’re about to enter a second phase of lockdowns that will last all winter. The amount of “fear porn” being pushed out there is beyond irrational, and the totalitarian fascists overlording “blue” states are heavily influenced by their socialist peers in Europe.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:30 | Comment (1)
October 28, 2020

I’ve got just one more day here in Massachusetts and I have to admit that, while it has been great to visit my dad and get his bank accounts access issues all taken care of and to see my friends, I’m ready to go home. All this mask-wearing and “fear porn” has me feeling anxious and claustrophobic. It all seems so pointless. I picked this up from none other than the CDC:

And for this we’re wearing masks and destroying our freedoms and livelihoods?? It’s really pathetic.

Sorry, Democrats – you can bitch and moan about Amy Coney “Syd” Barrett being confirmed as a Supreme Court judge all you want, but you only have yourselves to blame. Don’t thank Mitch McConnell and President Trump, blame former Nevada senator (and former Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (who should have announced her retirement while Barack Obama was president, and, of course, the typically stupid and clueless political chops of New York senator (and Minority Leader) “Chuckles” Schumer.

I don’t see a whole lot of enthusiasm for President Trump’s chances in New Hampshire in conservative polling circles with this one exception, and I think I know why. Just driving around the seacoast area on Monday the ratio of Biden/Harris signs to Trump / Pence had to be 90/10 – more than I remember ever seeing during the 2016 campaign. Now, the seacoast is obviously more liberal than the rest of the state, but were Trump to have an honest chance in NH I would have expected to see far more signage in his favor.

Talk a bout a tweet that didn’t age well. I just can’t imagine the kind of hubris it takes to have had the chutzpa to tweet something like that. Man, did we dodge a bullet!

…but it shouldn’t be surprising: there appears to be zero – I mean zero – physical energy out there for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I saw a dozen or so Biden folks at a major intersection the other day but heard no one beeping their support for them as I waited at the red light. And the Biden / Harris rallies (to whatever extent they can be called rallies) are a joke. Here in Massachusetts there are lots of Biden signs inside the I495 belt, but that’s to be expected: it’s as “blue” an area as you’re going to find in the good ol’ U S of A. But it’s not a positive call for Biden’s election: around here it’s Trump Derangement Syndrome and Trump hatred to fullest extent.

…in fact, outside of perhaps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” I would hazard a guess most of these folks around here haven’t a clue as to a single thing they support Biden for. Just as long as it’s not Trump. And I don’t have to tell you for the umpteenth time that a negative vote is not one that results in elections being won.

This is what life in Joe Biden’s America is going to look like if he is elected:

…and what life in Donald Trump’s America looks like.

Honestly, which one would you choose?

This picture captures perfectly the Joe Biden campaign:

Now it’s back to my Arizona return prep. While the autumn colors and chill have been a nice break from the Arizona summer, it’s good to know some things never change when late October arrives. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to some warm sunshine. Not looking forward to the plane ride back, tho – it’ll be non-stop mask wearing for a good nine hours.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:10 | Comments (4)


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