November 15, 2017

This is a picture of Bailey, one of my sister-in-law Tam’s rabbits who, along with her brother Midget Lee, comprise “The Ghurkins”. The Ghurkins are mini-lops, and they are a comical pair. Unlike our rabbits Marlie and Peach, they don’t kind of poke around their area, rather, they’ll stop, veg out for a time, then bolt off to whatever their next destination might be. With them nothing is done half-speed! The Ghurkins share their domain with Butterscotch, a “backyard bun” we got seven years ago as a result of a backyard rescue of (at that time) around fifty rabbits.

Butterscotch has had an interesting existence. We originally brought her home to a be a mate for our rabbit Geronimo who had recently lost his mate, Ginger. It took some time for the two to bond, but Butterscotch did a great job keeping “Mr. G.” company until he passed away less than a year later. We then gave Butterscotch to Tam, who at that time had her rabbits “The Beastie Boys”, Sherman and Cookie. They were starting to get up there in years and were very much bonded, so we figured Butterscotch could play the role of comforter in the event that one of the Beasties were to pass on. And sure enough, a year or so after Butterscotch moved in, Cookie died. It wasn’t more than a year later that Sherman too passed. Well, we couldn’t very well leave Butterscotch all alone, so when two mini-lops became available Tam, still broken-hearted over losing her long-time rabbits, did the right thing and brought them home. The Ghurkins love Butterscotch and Butterscotch loves The Ghurkins so it has all worked out and everyone’s happy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:25 | Comments (0)
November 14, 2017

I’d never been much of a fan of fiction in general. Like, ever. Biographies, autobiographies, and history from the real world has always been pretty much my choice when it came to reading. Sure, I got the entire Aubrey / Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian for Christmas two years ago, but that was more like historical fiction based on fact. (It’s been nearly two years later and I’m still not all the way through them; I think I’ve still got three books remaining!) This past January, however, I found myself facing a 5 1/2-hour flight back to Phoenix from Boston with nothing to read and nothing but a couple of crappy Hudson News stores at Logan Airport’s Terminal C to choose from. I couldn’t find anything that caught my fancy, but did find a piece of fiction called Cuba Straits by Randy Wayne White, a later book in his Doc Ford series of fiction.

Of course, anyone who knows The Great White Shank knows one way to grab his interest is to mention anything even remotely having to do with Cuba. And the fact the book was based in southwest Florida, on Sanibel Island – well, on a long flight back from cold New England to warm Arizona it seemed like the perfect way to pass the time. It turned out to be a fun read, so much so that upon arriving home I picked up the very first book in the series, Sanibel Flats and found that as equally enjoyable. I was hooked. I’ve now read 22 of the 24 books in White’s series. They’re not all great, there have been a snoozer or two amongst them, but all in all they’ve been a great way to spend time while soaking in a bubble bath or sitting with a glass of pinot grigio under happy pineapple lights. Sure beats watching TV, that’s for sure. So who is White’s Doc Ford character? From

Marion “Doc” Ford started his career working for a small covert government agency as an agent and assassin. He was known for years as one of the best at tracking targets and eliminating them once they were found. But, while this might have been a career that he excelled at, it was also something that he was not entirely comfortable doing. He eventually quit to start a better life for himself.

Doc was always in love with the ocean and this is where he looked for his second career. He became trained as a marine biologist and set himself up to work in the quiet and uneventful community of Sanibel, Florida, focusing on doing research projects on environmental conservationism. Doc lives on a home right on the water and is known for being friendly and willing to help out others in the community. He also has a history with many different women but can’t seem to hold one down for very long. Like James Bond, there seems to be a new one around for each of his adventures.

One of the overriding themes in each of White’s books are the escape lifestyles of the people in Ford’s little fictional Dinkins Bay Marina and the mix of crime and corruption in Florida whenever old slow money and new fast money mix. Interestingly, there’s a character inspired by one of my all-time favorite Red Sox players, Bill “Spaceman” Lee who is Ford’s closest companion. In Doc Ford’s southwest Florida, the state truly is, as Boston radio talk-show host Howie Carr is wont to quip, “a sunshiney state for shady people.” Having performed a rescue mission on behalf of my sister-in-law several years ago that took me into the seedier side of St. Petersburg, I can certainly vouch for that!

If you’re in the market for some decent fiction with an interesting cast of characters and plots where you actually learn something about Florida’s past in each novel, I recommend Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series of adventures.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comments (0)
November 13, 2017

November is one of my favorite months. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s back home in Massachusetts or here in the Valley of the Sun, it is a special time of year in both places. Back home, November is a transitional month – the early part bright and shimmering, the clinging leaves of October waiting for that first cold wet gale that strips the trees bare; the latter part of the month gray and chilly, waiting for that first snowfall that inevitably puts a final stamp on autumn. The clocks go back early in the month, leaving folks a commute home from work in the dark.

I took the picture above up in Portsmouth in a state forest just off the salt marshes that wind their way down the coat between Portsmouth and Hampton Beach. You wouldn’t know it from the pic, but if you keep walking less than ten minutes ahead you’ll walk right onto Route 1! The forest is a place I like to visit whenever I’m back home, especially in the fall. In the warmth of a fall afternoon you could still hear plenty of crickets and chickadees and squirrels and chipmunks rusting under the fallen leaves.

Here in the Valley, we don’t turn our clocks back and the days are refreshingly warm. This year, the heat of summer was slow to retreat – we ought to be in the 70s by now but most days have seen us in the mid-80s. The nights have cooled down nicely, though, and it’s great to have the bedroom window open even if the room gets cool with the nights dropping into the low 60s by dawn. This time of year, the electric blue skies of summer are replaced by days where the sky is oftentimes filled with high clouds from storm systems passing far to our north that shimmer beneath a sun that still can show its teeth in the late afternoon. Like in Florida, November is a big month for the snowbirds, so the golf courses are just opening up now after being closed for weeks after the change from summer Bermuda grass to winter rye.

Typically, I’m spending my November weekends doing all sorts of cleanup out back after all the dirt and dust of the monsoon season, but work has been extra demanding and my to-do list is a mile long. But there are some minor tweaks I’ve been making with my golf swing that I really like, and with a weekend trip to Vegas coming up in three weeks I want to get some golf work and play in before that time. Which is OK, December around here is also a great month for working outside.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:43 | Comments (0)
November 12, 2017

About those Judge Roy Moore accusations: Maybe it’s just me, but I find it ironic (although not entirely unexpected) that the same mainstream media that knew and covered up “Hollywood Harvey” Weinstein’s behavior for years is now like a dog nipping at the pantleg of a Alabama judge over events that may or may not have occurred four decades ago. These people truly have no shame. Look, I don’t know whether the judge is telling the truth or not. Certainly there were statements during that Hannity interview that raised my eyebrows. Maybe he’s always had a preference for much younger women – don’t we all? :-) But the one thing I do know is that the mainstream media is a parasite and a cancer on this country that has to be destroyed. So here it is: if – and maybe that’s a big if – this is truly all they have on Judge Moore, rightly or wrongly, were I to live in Alabama, I’d crawl over broken glass to vote for him just to tell the mainstream media to you-know-what.

The Boston Celtics are a heck of an enjoyable team to watch play basketball right now.

Has the hockey season started yet?

Would love to see the Red Sox get Giancarlo Stanton. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but we can dream, can’t we?

I loves me some watching Greg Gutfeld’s show on FOX News Saturday nights. On Fridays it’s a combination of the MLB Network, Golf Channel, and Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. But on Saturday it’s Judge Jeanine and Kat, Tyrus, and whomever else Greg has visiting. My Dad likes them too!

Waiting for Democrats to condemn all these attacks on Republicans. Poor Rand Paul is just the latest. I guarantee you if a Trump supporter decided to rough up the likes of Chuck Schumer or Steny Hoyer we’d never hear the end of it.

If there’s an underrated Pink Floyd album it has to be Obscured By Clouds. Their last album before Dark Side of the Moon, it foreshadows that classic album with a pastiche of power-pop instrumentals and dreamy tunes. Worth checking out!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:06 | Comment (1)
November 11, 2017

The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
“Step forward now, you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?”
The Soldier squared his shoulders and
said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t
Because those of us who carry guns
Can’t always be a saint.
I’ve had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.
I know I don’t deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”
There was a silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God,
“Step forward now, you Soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.”

Hat tip: The Bert Show

Thank you to all our veterans, here and gone, for their service.

You want to see something truly humbling? The UK remembers its veterans on this day as well, and this puts it all in perspective. Even if you have no British relatives, please consider remembering someone. Hat tip: Instapundit.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:01 | Comments (0)
November 8, 2017

Those rumors about me being back turned out to be a bit premature. The house is turned upside down while Tracey recovers from her shoulder surgery and a couple of big projects have me working 12-hour days pretty much nonstop through the end of the month. Because the weather here is so nice right now (it only hit 80 today) I’m hoping to squeeze in a round of golf over the weekend before pushing the nose back to the grindstone next week. A blog is something you have to commit to, but priority-wise it’s a fair bit down on the list. A few quick items:

Congrats to President Trump on the one-year anniversary of his election and saving the country from at least four years of Hillary Clinton. Her whole campaign has turned out to be nothing more than a well-orchestrated sham on the part of the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are all excited about those big (and much-needed) wins down the ticket in Virginia on Tuesday, but Virginia has been trending blue over the years and you combine that with a dull and unimaginative candidate like Ed Gillespie, and it’s no wonder the folks in the red parts of the state couldn’t have been bothered to turn out for him. But elections do have consequences – Republicans are going to have an uphill fight against a motivated liberal/progressive electorate seeking to damage President Trump as much as they can. 2018 is gonna be an interesting year politically.

I love the choice of Alex Cora as Red Sox manager.

Looking forward to seeing what Tiger Woods looks like when he attempts to resurrect his professional golf career at his Hero World Challenge in early December. He’ll be playing the same weekend fellow Goodboy “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin are in Vegas for a few nights of escape from the real world. I can see myself sitting at the Wynn sports bet nursing a Bloody Mary or two while watching Tiger. Never been much of a fan of his, but I think it will be good for the sport to have him back.

Be back in a few days….

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 21:14 | Comments (0)
October 21, 2017

First of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to commenter and our very good friend Jana on the passing of her mother yesterday. Tracey and I have fond memories of her parents and us gathered around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning enjoying the joys of the season during our time spent in Louisville. To this day I still look over my shoulder on Christmas morning wondering if someone is scheming to put cheese grits on my unsuspecting plate! I didn’t know her mother as well as I got to know her dad (he passed away several years ago), but judging from the character and the quality of the daughter they produced I think together they did all right.

May Jana’s mom rest in the love and peace of Our Lord, and may she feel comforted by all the good thoughts and prayers coming her way from Tracey and me and her numerous cadre of friends.

Secondly, before heading to the airport last night I couldn’t help remembering all those friends and loved ones who I’ve lost over all these years. On a warm, breezy patio under happy pineapple lights I thought about just how good it is to be alive and “in the flesh”. Which in turn got me to thinking about these two awesome Pink Floyd songs which simply demand to heard loud enough to make your pets run for cover and your neighbors consider calling the cops.

Life is so precious. I miss so much those who have passed before me. It makes me feel kind of like an empty vessel, but what can any of us do? You’re on this earth for a very short time. You love the people God brought you together with as long as it’s humanly possible, and once they’re gone you revere their memory. It’s all just happening a little too much for my taste, but that’s life.

In some ways I find I’m getting too old for this sort of thing.

Embrace the present.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:37 | Comment (1)
October 17, 2017

A number of news and notes while I start making plans for my trip back to Massachusetts this weekend and some legitimate fall weather for golf.

Surfing in Ghana. The seeds planted by Bruce Brown’s iconic surf film are still sprouting:

Peter Ansah, owner of Ahanta Waves Surf School & Camp, says their home is a surfer’s paradise. “When I was small, I would always come to the beach and try to surf with a piece of wood.” As a child, he met a couple from the United States using surfboards at Busua beach. Intrigued by the long pointy structure, he asked to use it in place of wood – falling in love with catching waves.

“Whenever I’m surfing, I forget about everything. I have nothing to think about. The only thing is that I enjoy it!” he described. He’s been surfing for 13 years and opened his surf school for locals and tourists alike. “A lot of people think it’s not possible to surf in Ghana because they think there’s no waves or no ocean in Ghana,”Ansah said.

However, Ian Fraser from California said he’s familiar with surfing in the country from the 1960’s movie “Endless Summer.” It depicts a scene of kids surfing on wood. He’s in Busua taking his daughter and her teammates to Ahanta Waves for lessons.

Ah yes, the two greatest motivating factors about learning to surf: the waves and the chicks.

Yes. Next question.

I’ve read a lot of stupid headlines in my life, but this one takes the cake. Err…paging Captain Obvious!!

And if you believe this story I’ve got some coastline in Nevada for you to buy. If she just admitted she got drunk with Huma Abedin and fell at least she’d come across as human.

…because, as the late, great Warren Zevon once sang, “…if California falls into the ocean, like the mystics and statistics say it will….” Some great lyrics there!

…but I guess that’s just asking too much. Every time I think Hillary Clinton can’t get more repulsive she keeps coming up with yet another example. Does she not realize everyone (and I’m including most Democrats in this, I’m guessing) just wants her to go away?

If Tiger’s starting to hit driver now is it asking too much that he might start playing a little in March to tune up for the Masters?

I mean, you somehow knew this was coming, didn’t you? You know the old saying, don’t sh*t in your bed? Well, there’s a reason for it, and this clown not only did that he also hurled into the punch bowl. My question: who’s the real victim here?

A story that will make you cry. God bless her and may she rest in peace.

..and one that will make you feel good.

It’s columns like this that make you think liberalism is truly a mental disorder.

…because everything they’ve been doing since Barack Obama became president has worked out so well for progressives.

Joe Bastardi at was talking about this the other day. What a crazy storm!

Because Bruce Springsteen has always been a man of the working class. A great artist, fer shure, but one of biggest phonies you’ll ever meet.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:16 | Comments (0)
October 16, 2017

The “American Dream”: still alive for those with the willingness to work hard and achieve their dreams. A stark contrast to those who just want a friggin’ handout.

Is there anyone you can think of as politically and intellectually tone-deaf as Hillary Clinton? The very thought she could have been elected president should give everyone pause.

…not really a surprise, the Clintons (and I’m talking Bill, Hill, and Chelsea) have always been pigs. And I say that apologizing to my porcine friends. The world has always been the Clintons’ toilet as long as the money is good.

Liberals be aware there’s gonna be some serious celebrating going on in the Trump universe with folks having parties and reliving last year’s election night sharing YouTube videos of the cable news networks melting down and tweets and chats. It promises to be a lot of fun, and you an bet I’m going to be a part of it!

Just one of the reasons I prefer meat over fish.

It isn’t just Iowa, Democrats – it’s New Hampshire and Minnesota and the Rust Belt states that have turned their backs on you because you don’t stand for America anymore.

The Yankees are pretty much done. Which is too bad because, even as a Red Sox fan I have to say I enjoy watching them play.

Yep. Which is why I refuse to take Democrats and liberals seriously anymore.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:06 | Comments (0)
October 14, 2017

Today is “Opening Day”, Arizona golf style. Most of the courses around here, including all the ones I have in my rotation, have been closed for two weeks while they transition from Bermuda grass to winter rye. So they all open the same day, and it’s mayhem with everyone wanting to be a part of it and get a tee time. Me? As a single it’s a whole lot easier to find a slot (not to mention the fact I hate early morning golf), so I’ll be teeing off at 10:21 at Stonecreek Golf Club. Tough course, lots of water and thin fairways. But a perfect opportunity to put into practice the swing I’ve been working on. And with the predicted temp around only 90 degrees? Well, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

The Red Sox made the right move firing “Accountability John” Farrell as manager. The team needs not only a quality in-game manager, but someone who will make sure the young up-and-coming impressionable stars-to-be learn not just to play, but go about their business the right way. Me? I’d like to see the Sox pick Alex Cora, but I’m guessing because of their history together GM Dave Dombrowski will go with Brad Ausmus. Can’t go wrong with either, in my view.

You’d think a pro with 500 balls and a pin less than 150 yards out would be able to make a hole-in-one, but Edoardo Molinari was given the chance and couldn’t do it. Like they say, golf is hard.

I’m guessing if you’ve been around the bar circuit in southwest Florida you’ve heard of Danny Morgan. I hadn’t – I only heard about him from Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford novel, “Night Moves”, but that alone was good enough for me to download his music from Amazon and add them to my “Tropical Breezes” music collection.

If I’m the Red Sox I’m thinking I need a big bat and a first baseman. Perhaps even a second baseman, although I’m sure they’ll want to see how Dustin Pedroia’s knee turns out. They’ve got plenty of chips to make a trade. But they really need a veteran and a good clubhouse guy.

Didn’t I tell y’all to watch out for the Yankees this year? And they’re only going to be better in 2018 – they’ve got a ton of old crappy contract money coming off the books and will be able to do whatever they want over the next couple of off-seasons. But the truth is, Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians squad peaked too early.

You won’t hear it from the likes of CNN and MSNBC, but President Donald Trump just had one hell of a week – perhaps the best of his presidency. Opening up healthcare insurance purchases across state lines, indicating his willingness to back away from the Iran deal, and ending Obamacare insurance company subsidies is only going to help the middle class. You look at the stock market and consumer confidence, and you tell me what Democrats have to offer for the 2018 midterms.

Oh Megyn, Megyn – how the mighty have fallen!

There’s a lot of great Pink Floyd music out there, but the quirkiness and outright weirdness of “Atom Heart Mother” will always be a favorite of mine. As will “Sheep”. Two very different sounds from a band that did it all.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:57 | Comments (0)


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