August 8, 2020

“Retired. What the hell’s retired mean? …It doesn’t mean ya don’t do nothing. It means ya relax, rest up until there’s something to be done. Then ya do it. Then ya go back to resting.” — Bert “The Shirt” d’Ambrososia, One Strange Date by Laurence Shames

If you haven’t read Shames’ series of Key West Capers starting with Florida Straits you’re missing a good read and laugh during “these uncertain times”. Bert “The Shirt” is one of the recurring characters and his entrance always brings a smile.

…as does whenever I have a morning before having to play “pool guy” and join Dilbert creator Scott Adams for his daily Periscope TV chat, complete with the “simultaneous sip” where everyone is encouraged to join in for a sip of your favorite morning beverage. I may not always agree with his perspective, but he has interesting, common sense views on things and you’re cheating yourself if you don’t at least give it one try to see how you might like it.

This week was the last week of serious hours and days for “pool guy”. Starting next week I’m down to just spot duty of approx. 12 hours over three days and (yeah!) no more Sundays. Sure makes Saturday nights a whole lot more relaxing. I’m looking forward to the rest of August and September as much–deserved “down” time until I decide what my next steps are (if any) are going to be. I am starting to think about taking my clubs out of quarantine. It will be soon, but not yet.

The same holds true for my watching of professional golf (or any professional sport, for that matter) on TV. I guess the PGA is taking place this weekend. Is it the only major that will be played this year? I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t care. Perhaps when I pick up the game again I might take a look but it sure won’t be the same as it once was. 2020 has changed just about everything as far as I’m concerned.

…that won’t be the case for the Red Sox, however. As a result of their support for the Marxist Black Lives Matter clowns they are now and forever dead to me. I don’t support organizations whose only goal is to destroy this country (don’t believe me? Check out their website – which I refuse to link to here). The Red Sox support for BLM means they either support BLM’s goals, or (probably) they’re a bunch of fu**ing pussies afraid of today’s cancel culture. BLM is nothing but racist, hateful, evil vermin. No more, no less. And I refuse to support anything and anyone who supports it.

At the pool store we’re still continuing to see lots of new arrivals here in Arizona from places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and California who have bought houses with pools and need help in learning how to manage and maintain them. The real estate market around here has never been hotter; still, these are folks who (obviously) make good money and have chosen to take their taxpaying and spending capabilities to a place like Arizona where, even with our own governor’s incompetence with dealing with the COVID-19 bullshit (which has never been nearly as bad as the media has made it out to be), we’re a heckuva lot more responsible in terms of government overreach and how competently things are run.

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August 1, 2020

Thoughts before I head into the gauntlet of the last great week of pool supply retailing in terms of hours and commitment. One of the guys is on vacation so I’ll be picking up the slack by working the next six days. But after this here’s hoping my hours and level of commitment start (to quote Paul Simon) slip sliding away.

You want to talk courage in this day and age? Look no further than Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic. As David Hookstead tweets:

Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac stood alone for the national anthem.

This is what courage looks like. When the rest of the NBA took a knee, Isaac stood with pride for America.

Sometimes, when you stand for what is right, you must stand alone.

Amen.

Even though the Amazon review are pretty awful, I think I’m going to pick up Richard Caillat’s book “Get Tusked” about the recording of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album. It’s #4 on my list of all-time list of great albums, and I hear something new every time I listen to it. Was the work primarily the result of Lindsay Buckingham’s insufferable ego Probably. But it wouldn’t have been realized with out it, and one cannot discard the fact that the rest of the band worked hard to follow Buckingham’s vision that Tusk not become a “Rumours II” effort. That would have been the easy thing to do, and it’s one of the reasons I hold Buckingham, ego and all, in such high artistic regard.

Speaking of over-inflated egos, is there anyone more insufferable than former President Barack Obama? Watching his over-the-top and incredibly divisive political speech at Congressman John Lewis’ funeral on Thursday, I was struck by how much Obama has become a caricature of himself. The same bullshit rhetoric backed by the same insufferable “I know better than y’all” kind of folksy mannerisms and tone. The guy is, and has always been, a bullshit artist of the highest magnitude. More than Bill Clinton could ever dream of being. And Democrats just eat up his bullshit.

…of course, one can argue that President Trump is as equally a match for Obama when it comes to peddling bullshit, but there is one significant difference: Trump promotes the unity of “America First” and its ideals while promoting himself, whereas Obama promotes himself while hawking over-heated rhetoric and what divides, rather than unites, us as a nation. He should be ashamed of himself, but that’s far beyond someone of his lowlife character.

…the fact is, Barack Obama had the greatest opportunity anyone at any point in the history of this world had ever been given to bring this country together once and for all, yet his ego and his radical upbringing simply wouldn’t allow for it. At the end of eight years, his presidency had not only done little for African-Americans and inner cities, he squandered the potential people saw in him as a a truly transformative figure while, in fact, making racial relations worse as a result. And I despise him for it.

OK, I’ve been more than willing to go along with the whole mask-wearing thing all while knowing the science of wearing masks to mitigate the impact of the COVID–19 virus is, at best, dubious. But I will never – and I do mean NEVER – wear goggles as a COVID-19 preventative. These people think we’re all a bunch of f**king morons, and perhaps they’re right.

…make no kistake about it: I will draw a very hard line against wearing goggles, and I think that would be the breaking point for a lot of Americans. Speaking on my behalf and my behalf only, I didn’t spend nearly $4K back in 1999 to eliminate the need to (and the stigma of) eyeglasses to then start wearing them because some fraud bureaucrat who hasn’t been right about anything tells me to. I’d go to jail and pay fines first, and you can take that to the f**king bank. F**k Fauci. The guy is an absolute clown.

Column of the week goes to the inestimable Kurt Schlichter, who writes the following:

You watch the freakish Rep. Jerry Nadler mouth off to AG William Barr about how those poor, hug-giving rioters of love in Portland are being cruelly provoked by that federal courthouse that racistly refuses to be burned down, and your mind generates several questions. The first is whether he somehow forgot that we’ve actually seen pictures of those enthusiastic Biden supporters destroying property and attacking cops. The next question is how someone as lumpy as The Nad ever managed to pull off his escape from Willie Wonka’s factory. Maybe he hid in a dumpster of garbage and it worked because no one noticed him nestled inside, perfectly camouflaged.

…Truth exists, and we can see it thanks to alternative outlets and social media. And we still think lying is a bad thing, though our opponents disagree. To the left, truth is just a bourgeois conceit, something to be discarded as necessary in the struggle against horrible things like racism, sexism, transphobia, colonialization, and Democrats not being in power. It’s optional. And the left is opting out.

…And another thing – while we are already woke, lots of people who don’t dog paddle through the political cesspool every day like many of us do are watching this unfold and they are getting angry. How many folks have you talked to who were apolitical or even Democrat-curious who now whisper to you that we have got to reelect the president? I had one just yesterday, and I’m in Ted Lieu’s district. Think of how much more prevalent that phenomenon is out in America.

…Let the garbage cities burn. Let the idiots who voted for chaos enjoy it. If they refuse to learn the easy way, let them learn the hard way. Pain is a better teacher than a million man-bunned TAs instructing Goucher College sophomores about 14th Century transgender poetry of Eritrea.

…And another thing – while we are already woke, lots of people who don’t dog paddle through the political cesspool every day like many of us do are watching this unfold and they are getting angry. How many folks have you talked to who were apolitical or even Democrat-curious who now whisper to you that we have got to reelect the president? I had one just yesterday, and I’m in Ted Lieu’s district. Think of how much more prevalent that phenomenon is out in America.

Anecdotally, I had someone come in on Wednesday for a water test. He was wearing a Bernie Sanders T-shirt. We got to small talking, and I asked him in a joking manner, “so how’s that T-shirt working out for ya?” He leans in closely, says to me, “F**k Biden, I’m voting Trump.” I don’t think he’s alone.

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July 30, 2020

A few thoughts and comments while we’re in the middle of a murderously-hot week here in the Valley of the Sun:

This year’s monsoon season is off to a very slow start. Last week we had a brief thunderstorm with perhaps 1/10 to 1/20 inch of rain, but that’s all. There was some nice thunder and a bit of lightning, but it was primarily to our west. This photo from the middle of my swimming pool doesn’t do justice to just how shimmering the sky was with its copper and salmon-colored overtones, but it was drop-dead gorgeous. Need more storms just like that!

…of course, we’re not into August yet, so no need to be impatient.

People are freaking out about this President Trump tweet, completely unaware that he’s just exposing their same way of thinking when it comes to opening schools, mail-in voting and the like. What he’s basically saying is, if the virus is so bad that we can’t open schools, can’t worship in churches, and have to resort to mail-in voting all because of the virus (even if we can all shop in places like Lowe’s, The Home Depot, pool supply stores, and supermarkets – with appropriate social-distancing, of course!) then I guess we’re to sickly and fearful as a nation to even have a national election. An epic troll by an epic troller, but the usual suspects take everything he says as gospel.

…the fact is, if you can have voting precincts utilizing the same kind of single-line separation for social distancing just like at Walmart, Lowe’s, and your local supermarket entrances, with plenty of surface sanitizer and folks voting via paper ballots and single-use pencils, you can have an election that is done both correctly and expediently. To argue otherwise is nothing but fear-mongering and the height of ignorance. The Federal Election Commission needs to move on mandating this ASAP.

…which is why, I believe, the President brought the issue of mail-in voting to a head today via his own unique use of his Twitter bully pulpit.

BTW, this is the kind of guy he really is. Just don’t expect to hear anything about this from the cable news talking heads.

I have always thought “Slo’ Joe” Biden was going to pick failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams or California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. It’s therefore interesting to Obama national security advisor Susan Rice’s name become prominently mentioned over the last few days. If Rice is indeed chosen for Biden’s VP slot it would tell me two things: (1) regardless of what the media-hyped polling is saying, Biden is in deep trouble and he needs to pull out all the stops for Barack Obama’s unwavering and enthusiastic support in order to (2) motivate the Democratic base and Obama’s previous coalition to pull Biden’s gonads out of the fire.

…think about it: why else would such a career Washington politician with Biden’s supposed bona fides need another national security “expert” to be a part of his team. The fact is, he doesn’t. But he desperately needs all the help he can get from the Obama coalition to gin up enthusiasm for his candidacy – enthusiasm which even the most optimistic Biden pollsters know is in desperately short supply.

…of course, if Biden picks Harris, that doesn’t mean he’s not going to need that Obama coalition (he absolutely will) but he’s going strictly for the race and gender card – neither of which I see as helping him at all. Biden is nothing but a sacrificial lamb being tossed into the Trump meat-grinder by the Dems party establishment to delay the likes of Bernie Sanders and his progressives wrestling the Democratic Party’s power center away from the likes of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Chinacrats like Dianne Feinstein.

Forget about what the national pollsters are telling you. The fact is – and I’m hearing this not just from my “big guy” contact in national GOP circles whom I befriended back in 2016, but from a couple of folks I know in a couple of other GOP congressional campaigns as well – is that there is no way pollsters are able to identify the Trump voters out there. There’s a huge (and I mean HUGE) amount of fear out there what would happen if folks’ support for the President’s reelection were ever published. Not only are these voters not getting represented, but if they are called they’re either neglecting to answer or disguising their votes.

…the national pollsters are too lazy to take the time and do the kind of digging that is needed in order to ferret out these voters, so it is left to smaller pollsters who care deeply about their profession (and their reputations) to try and get it right. There are scientific ways of doing with, which is why I respect pollsters like Richard Baris and Scott Rasmussen.

R.I.P. Herman Cain. Never had the honor of meeting the man but he always seemed like a nice guy who oozed the kind of positivity one would expect from a successful entrepreneur. I liked him a lot and would have gladly voted for him as President.

And R.I.P. as well to Peter Green, one of the truly great and innovative British blues guitar players who was single-handedly responsible for Fleetwood Mac’s early success with songs like “Albatross” and “Black Magic Woman”, which Carlos Santana later made a hit with. He was a troubled individual in life, hope he finds the peace he never found with the angels in eternity.

Wait a dog-gone minute here: I was under the impression that the Portland demonstrations were “primarily peaceful”, or, as congressman Jerry Nadler called them, “a myth”.

I close with this spot-on tweet from TheHuBLife:

Imagine showing up to a funeral and then going into a lengthy diatribe about fractional reserve banking, the plight of the Arctic penguin and closed with a “get out in vote in November” request.

Who does that?

A Jihadi terrorist spreading propaganda… that’s who.

Indeed.

Granted this might be considered anecdotal, but all I can say is that at the pool supply store I continue to see at least one couple from places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois come into the store saying they’re new to Arizona and have just adopted their first year-round swimming pool. You can look at stories like this (and I’m sure the same pool stores in Florida would say the same thing) but there is an exodus occurring from “blue” states to “red” states that you’ll never see the mainstream media pick up.

…all I can say is that around here real estate has never been hotter than it is right now. Lots of folks wanting to buy with record low inventory. Fact is, folks are pissed off at the assholes running their Democratic states and are choosing to vote with both their feet and their wallets. Good for them.

The video everyone has seen and needs to be seen. PERIOD. Take control of your own health and tell the morons in the mainstream media and the doctors who believe what they are saying to go f**k themselves. What I don ‘t understand is that you have this whole thing politicized to the point where the patient is being taken completely out of the equation. If the patient wants to take the HCQ treatment to fend off COVID19 LET THEM DO IT. If you want them to sign a friggin’ waiver protecting your pathetic, yellow-bellied ass from future litigation I’m sure they’d be happy to do so. It’s just so pathetic.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 14:25 | Comments (4)
July 26, 2020

Whether one is an active participant or not, the third weekend of July – Goodboys Invitational weekend marks the apex of summer. Far more so in the northern climes like New England, where soon after Goodboys comes August and the soft, dreamy combination of cloudy humid days and the first real indications that the days are indeed getting shorter and soon it will be Labor Day and that lovely, short period known as “late summer” before stores start advertising back-to-school sales and putting out the chrysanthemums. Before you know it, the nights start getting cool and fall is upon you.

it’s not quite like that here in the Valley of the Sun, but even here – most especially working at a swimming pool supply store – you can tell we’re past the apex of the season. Sales start slackening off given the fact that the chemicals everyone needed in order to get their pools ready for the 4th of July and the season beyond have all been sold. Sure, we’ve still got new customers coming in trying to get their pools swimmable for the remainder of the season, but the big bucks have pretty much all been spent.

I can tell because the powers-that-be have (thankfully) already reduced our Sunday hours from a ghastly 9 AM to 6 PM to a more reasonable (and tolerable) 10 AM to 5 PM. And while I’m expecting the 9 AM openings on Monday – Saturday to continue for a few weeks, I’m guessing the 7 PM closes will be brought back to a more reasonable 6 PM. My hours are already starting to be reduced, and frankly, that’s a good thing – I never really wanted to work four days a week and the 32 hours a week I’m currently working. I’m slowly being brought back to a more reasonable 28 hours a week, but even at that I’m looking forward to the end of September when, supposedly, the terms of my current gig will be up.

Not that I’ve minded it all that much – after all, the goal was to make as much additional money I could while still getting my severance pay from my former employer while learning new skills that I could take forward to give me some minimal income and a few days out of the house each week for the next couple of years. That mission has been accomplished, and then some – the district sales manager actually offered me a full-time, associate store manager position if I wanted it – but the current gig has met all my expectations.

Outside of having to work Sundays (something I plan on avoiding once September is past) I’ve enjoyed this gig quite a bit. Not the least bit has been the physical work – not just being on your feet 6-8 hours a day, but lugging buckets of chlorine tabs, pool sand, and pool salt has resulted in my getting back into shape as much physically as if I had started going back to the gym. I’ve lost eight pounds (back to my fighting weight of 162) and have regained some nice muscle tone in my pecs, arms, and legs. My doctor was very pleased at my annual physical last Thursday, and I’m feeling better mentally and physically than I have since I can remember.

As Goodboy “Goose” suggested back in March when I was first sacked, this whole experience has been a blessing in disguise. Would it have been nice to have ridden the meat grinder for another 2 1/2 years? Perhaps, at least financially. But I’ve since discovered that I was long past due for a break. I was beaten down mentally, physically, and spiritually. And while I haven’t yet had the time to decompress the way I would like and have time for self-reflection, maybe I’m not quite ready for that amount of down-time yet; while four days of pool supply work a week is too much I don’t think I’d want anything less than three, as I know I would start getting itchy about things.

So it has been a very good transition into somewhat semi, early retirement. The summer here in the Valley of the Sun still has another 2 1/2 months to go before the heat breaks, but I’m really looking to fall to become a time for the self-reflection and taking stock of things I so much need. I want to travel back to Massachusetts to see my dad, walk in some colorful woods, perhaps play some golf with my Goodboys friends, and listen to Gordon Lightfoot and classical music. And while it still indeed is summer, 2020 (among other things) will go down as the Year Without a Summer. No golf. No Goodboys. No Sam Adams Summer Ale. No surf music. No travel. Just a minimum-wage gig working at a pool supply store trying to make as much hay while the sun shines.

It’s unlike anything I’ve felt before. And I kinda like it where I am, after the apex.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:19 | Comments (0)
July 18, 2020

A few random thoughts on what looks to be the last the last weekend before we finally get ourselves some bona fide monsoon activity here in the Valley of the Sun:

So once again, President Trump was right and the “fake news” was wrong about so-called “Russia Collusion”. Question: so when does The New York Times have the guts to return their Pulitzer prizes?

Wondering why this article – from the New England Journal of Medicine, no less – isn’t getting more attention:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

Ordering people to wear masks is nothing more than the state infringing on the freedoms of its citizens in order to exert power. Nothing more, nothing less. And the fact that so many sheep out there are willing to go along with it is both disappointing and frightening.

…and the fact that these folks were then pressured to print a retraction of the main gist of their article simply underscores my point. There are very powerful influences at play here that have nothing to do with folks’ health and well-being.

…which is why whenever I hear our governor Doug Ducey push the need for folks to continue wearing masks, I’m stunned that no journalist out there has the guts to ask him “OK, Governor, we hear what you’re saying so here’s a question for you: for how long? A month? Months? Years? Until there’s a vaccine? What if there isn’t a vaccine?” I mean, where does this all end? When does it all end? As the above article states, the science is hardly settled over masks, yet our elected officials the the state and local levels are pushing it as if it is. One can only wonder at the backroom conversations we’re not privy to.

…and speaking of masks, it’s kind of funny that I was feeling a bit sentimental about the Goodboys Invitational weekend and having to miss it this year until I saw an email from one of the guys cautioning that he would be avoiding physical contact so “his two children would grow up to see their their grandparents”, or something to that effect. I had to hold my tongue (or fingers, actually) from advising said Goodboy that as long as said grandparents didn’t live in any of these states where (mostly) Democratic governors – plus “RINO Charlie” Baker in Massachusetts – sent COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes they’d be OK.

…which then got me thinking it’s probably best for everyone that I’m not there this weekend, knowing that politics would inevitably come up and I’m not really that good at holding my tongue. Instead, getting a lovely call and a Facetime from my best Goodboys buds on Friday and Saturday nights made my weekend. So in the end is well and all will be all, and peace be with all the Goodboys.

Mind you, I’m not opposed to the wearing of masks – in fact, perhaps it’s time for mandatory masks whenever in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and rehab and long-term care facilities. But the whole social distancing thing is total bullshit founded on fear and not science. Historically, there is one of these pandemics every decade in one form or another, and of course there’s the annual flu season, and yet we’ve all managed to get this far. But everything has become political, so common sense and compromise are all out the window, and I see no going back. Unfortunately, this is now the “new normal”: the over (and overt) politicization of everything, leading to a distrust in our government institutions.

…and unless someone gets a handle on this – and a really good handle it must be – it will be every man for himself and no one wants to go there.

I never thought the Democrats would be so stupid as to support the rioting and destruction of cities, but “San Fran Nan” Pelosi’s tweet from today seems proof that that’s exactly what they are doing. Does anyone beyond the loony left think what is happening every night in Portland is a good thing? Politically it’s absolutely absurd. The Democrats are turning this election into a “jobs, not mobs”, law and order referendum on which political party is better able to stop the lawlessness.

…and why Republicans have been so silent on this is beyond me. The future of our Republic is at stake. Do they not see it?

If black voters have a choice between this and this, I pray common sense will prevail and they will choose the latter. Because it was never about Confederate statues, it was about law and order, seeing how far their movement would be allowed to go.

Can we all now agree that Dr. Fauci is nothing but a partisan hack who has nearly single-handedly tried to destroy this country with his inane predictions and falsehoods? I’ve been waiting for the mask to drop, and it finally has. Anyone who thinks that New York’s Andrew Cuomo’s decisions have been anything but reckless and criminal in nature has no business anywhere near the White House. I expect a major push-back against this self-serving, media clown in the coming days. God damn him.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 16:25 | Comments (0)
July 12, 2020


(Hat tip: Powerline blog)

Not much of a chance to blog this week, so this weekend’s edition will be kind of abbreviated, but not lacking for substance.

Hope you like the new pic on the main page. That’s me and the late, great Cosmo. He was a truly great rabbit.

I guess all lives really don’t matter after all.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ill-conceived and deadly policy of placing COVID–19 patients in nursing homes and long-term facilities isn’t going away any time soon. The guy is a butcher, and he and his public health officials need to be held personally (and, in my view, criminally) responsible for their decisions.

Some of the most intolerant people I know live in Massachusetts, so this doesn’t surprise me at all. Which kind of explains this, doesn’t it? But liberals are the tolerant and open-minded ones, right?

And no, we’re not stacking bodies at designated places across the Valley of the Sun as a result of the so-called “surge” in Coronavirus cases. Anecdotal, but the truth: I’ve driven past that same damned billboard on the 60 going east five times over the past four days advertising ER wait times at a prominent local medical center, and each time the number is zero. ZERO. So how the hell can Arizona be called the epicenter of Coronavirus cases? It’s just total media hysteria driven by our – yes, Republican – governor, who is either ignorant, or (more likely) totally unwilling to share the facts with his constituents.

If you’re looking for anything sports-related on this blog you won’t find it here. I’ve checked out of Boston.com and the MLB Network for Red Sox and baseball coverage and the GOLF Channel for golf coverage. I’m just not interested. Perhaps in 2021 I’ll reconsider, but I don’tr think I’m alone in folks who have walked away from sports due to their politicization of everything. That’s the problem with the liberal left – they get their claws into everything and ruin things for the rest of us who just want to check out of everyday life for a few hours.

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July 10, 2020

“‘Tis a bittersweet fact that, from the very joyful moment you bring a new animal into your household as a member of the family, the clock starts ticking down to the sad moment when you have to say goodbye.”

And the hits just keep on coming. Boy oh boy, 2020 has been a very hard year here in the Richard household. In January we had to say farewell to our beloved rabbit Marlie; this past Tuesday we had to do the same to my sister-in-law Tammy’s rabbit Butterscotch.

In rabbit terms, Butterscotch lived a kind of “Forrest Gump” kind of life – meaning, she always seemed to be in the middle of the action from the moment of her birth to the time of her passing some eleven years later.

Butterscotch was originally one of what were called the “backyard bunnies” – some 100+ rabbits discovered in some lady’s Phoenix back yard back in 2010. Evidently, the woman had originally had a couple of rabbits who were allowed to breed and she lost control over the uncontrolled breeding that inevitably resulted to the point where her back yard was inundated with rabbits both above ground and underground, requiring rabbit rescues all the way from California to Texas to help take in all of the rabbits.

It was during this time that one of the pair of rabbits we had adopted from a local rabbit rescue, Ginger, had suddenly passed away, leaving her mate Geronimo feeling sad and lonely. One Saturday, on a trip to Tranquility Trail Animal Sanctuary, I looked at some of the “backyard buns” they had brought in. Amongst a group of rabbits passively hanging out in their cage, I asked Kelly, the curator there, which one of the rabbits seemed to have the kind of passive sweetness that could win over a brute like Geronimo, and Butterscotch was invited into our family.

I blogged about the successful effort to bond Geronimo and Butterscotch together. Unfortunately, she and Geronimo were only together for the better part of a year before Geronimo passed away quite suddenly. We then adopted Marlie the rabbit in the hope of bonding her and Butterscotch together, but that was a doomed prospect from the start: Marlie as a rabbit was very “food aggressive” and better left to a life in solitude. Not knowing what else to do, we offered up Butterscotch to my sister-in-law, and her two rabbits at the time, the legendary “Beastie Boys” Sherman and Cookie, welcomed her with opened paws.

Butterscotch was then there with Cookie when he passed, and she then played a critical role as Sherman’s mate until he, too, passed five years ago. It was then my sister-in-law adopted “the ghurkins”, Midget Lee and Bailey, who looked to Butterscotch as not just their mate, but as the matriarch of the bunny household until last week.

As with so many bunnies, the end came rather quick for Butterscotch. We’re not sure exactly what happened, but Tammy and I think she may have had a series of strokes that first cost her her sight, then her ability to use her from legs. Tam nursed her along hoping that Butterscotch would pass away at her apartment, but she had a very strong will, even when her quality of life had been reduced to practically nothing.

Of all the rabbits we have had over the twenty years since Tracey first brought Marble the rabbit home back in Louisville, Kentucky I don’t think (perhaps with the exception of dear departed Little Half Pint) we’ve had a rabbit with as sweet a disposition as Butterscotch. She was adored whenever we would bring her to the vet to get groomed. And her passing ends an era where she knew (at least in bunny terms) an inordinate number of our rabbits: Geronimo, Little Half Pint, Cosmo, Peanut, Marlie, Cookie, Sherman, Midget Lee, and Bailey. Her passing hurts only because she was just a sweet, adorable thing who, from what was a very rough beginning, caught the gold ring and enjoyed a very interesting and happy life.

Rest in peace, Butterscotch.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:11 | Comments (0)
July 2, 2020

Feels kind of muggy out there today and they’re saying there’s a possibility of blowing dust tonight, so while we have only officially started monsoon season on June 15, and they don’t consider it a “monsoon event” until we’ve had three straight days of humidity like today, it’s about time to buckle up.

Anyone else out there glad most of us have gotten through the first half of 2020 without losing our collective minds? Man, if you had told me on New Year’s Eve while I was sitting around a fire quaffing pinot grigio that we’d be dealing with COVID-19, lockdowns, masks, and statues being taken down, and I’d be working in a pool supply store I’d have wondered what the heck you were smoking.

But it’s been a tough first half of the year, losing one of our beloved rabbits, Marlie, and then losing my job at the meat-grinder. Sitting out on the back patio late at night nursing my nite-cap my former life seems like a dream, like it never happened, almost like I never happened. It’s just a very strange feeling. Of course, as long as the severance checks continue to come in there’s really no pain being felt. And having four days at the pool supply gig gets me out of the house and interacting with all kinds of folks has been a good thing. But there will come a time (September, specifically) when the severance checks stop and another time (November, to be exact) when the pool supply gig will end.

…which is why starting later this month it will be time to start considering the next phase of my “retirement”, which I hope will result in the home office being operational once again. I’ll be looking for part-time remote work similar to the kind of thing I was doing before. It would, of course, have to be a really sweet situation, but folks “in the know” say that there are opportunities out there for folks in exactly the same situation I find myself in.

…and, of course, since one of the options available in any scenario is to simply do nothing, I could always do just that and plan on a six-month hiatus until the pool season starts up again next April and, as The Beach Boys’ once sang, “do it again”. But I’m not so sure I want to go that route. I’ve started thinking about maybe picking back up my golf game this winter and dedicate some time to getting my handicap down to a 20. Something to consider, anyways…

It feels strange to be here in July and to not be a part of the ramp-up to Goodboys Invitational weekend, but hearing some of the nightmare stories at the store from people who have attempted air travel in “these uncertain times” makes me confident I made the right decision. Will I miss the guys? Sure. Will the guys miss me? Doubtful. But it is the right choice to make. It’s not as if the air travel experience was great to begin with; to add the whole mask-wearing bullshit on top of it would make the trip East – and most especially, the long trip back to Arizona – unbearable.

…especially with the media’s treatment of the recent spike in Coronavirus cases; it’s so infuriating. Look, no one ever thought this thing would be 100 gone by now. Remember? The original thought behind the lock-downs was to “flatten the curve” and avoid overwhelming the hospitals. But how the goalposts have moved. Look at this chart: where is the surge in cases coming from? Geez, I wonder what happened around, oh, say, two weeks ago? Of course, the media won’t admit the correlation between the surge in cases and all the riots and looting that took place after the George Floyd shooting.

…but even if they did, why not equally emphasize the lack of the rise in death rates? I’m no scientist or math major, but all this just tells me that the mortality rate of the COVID-19 virus simply does not warrant the level of hysteria and fear being plied by the mainstream and local media day in, day out. Especially given the fact that a significant percentage of the deaths resulted from decisions made by Democratic governors leading to all those nursing home deaths? The fact is, COVID-19 continues to be a virus whose deadliness simply does not arise to its reputation. Nasty? Yes. Sometimes deadly? Yes. But no more than the average flu season.

I’m not surprised at the great economic news today. All I can offer is anecdotal evidence from the pool supply store, but it seems like half the people coming in are brand-new pool owners having either just moved here from other states or just bought their first house with a swimming pool. The real estate market around here is blistering hot, and you simply wouldn’t have that kind of activity if the economy were in a doldrums. The media won’t, but the President’s economic team deserves a lot of credit for helping the country start recovering so quickly after such a disastrous start to the year.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 14:22 | Comments (0)
June 27, 2020

Pretty sunset, huh? That’s the sunset from Thursday night – an Arizona sunset if there ever was one. The picture was taken right from my driveway.

Call it the summer doldrums, if you will. Don’t feel like posting anything much for this weekend’s post. Lots of folks are heading north to the White Mountains and Flagstaff in anticipation of the Fourth of July weekend. I know that from folks buying chlorine shock to keep their pools from turning green while they’re away and the lack of traffic on the highways. And I say good for them – I think only now people are finally coming to terms with the shock they – and everyone else – has been through for the past three months due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Politically, I know the pollsters out there are all in a heat about the President’s chances in November and where his support lies, but this is one of those years where you can’t count on anything; anything truly could (and I think will) happen between now and November, so I’m not going to get my panties in a stitch one way or the other. I’m also not going to pay attention to what – if anything – any of the professional sports going on might or might not do: I’ve stopped watch MLB Network and the GOLF Channel and have no plans to go back to watching them anytime soon. I’ve got my health, a fun pool supply gig, enough money to give us a good life, clean water, plentiful food, and a roof over our heads. I got a house to keep clean and a backyard to maintain, and that’s really all I care about right now.

The folks that want to topple statues and make other’s lives miserable for their “cause” can kiss my ass. I don’t care about their cause. In my view, not only do “all lives matter” but especially “all unborn black lives matter” since obviously liberals, Democrats, and the mainstream media could care less how Planned Parenthood is virtually a death machine when it comes to black babies. Here’s a word to y’all: when you start caring as much for the lives of the black unborn of the future as you do about statues of dead people of the past I’ll know you’re serious about having a real discussion of how “black lives matter”. Because right now all I see is a bunch a spoiled, pampered white folks bullying others around because they’re losers and freaks with no life of their own. Here is my question: who raises monsters like this? I know my parents nor my cousins parents wouldn’t stand for it. We’d get our asses kicked!

But no worries, their fifteen moments of fame is about to come to an abrupt end.

I know that the whole recent COVID-19 “spike in cases” would be a heckuva lot more newsworthy to me if the death rate from it didn’t remain incredibly low. I guess forcing folks everywhere to wear just makes the powers-that-be feel like they’re important and the sheep out there feel like they’re a part of something bigger than they are. Again, more people searching for meaning in their lives. It’s very sad.

But enough. Me? I’m just going to take this weekend off – and then some – and not worry about a thing. Hope y’all will as well.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:57 | Comments (0)
June 24, 2020

It was a quiet day until 6 PM rolled around. My store manager had left for the day – ninety minutes before closing – leaving me to pick up the stragglers needing chemicals and water tests after their own normal work days. Normally, I would have plenty of time to sweep the floors, restock the sales floor, take the cardboard out to the recycle bin and the trash to the trash bin in preparation for closing out the registers and calling it a day.

It all started innocently enough: a pretty young woman who smelled of very strong cotton candy (yuck!) came in for a water test – normally a five minute exercise. All well and good in and of itself, but two other folks followed her in shortly thereafter wanting water tests of their own.

This woman wanted to talk about the results. In detail. Her pool’s phosphates were through the roof (meaning she was going to need chemicals in order to head off algae), but she only had limited access to the rental property the pool was on, so we had to work out a treatment strategy that would work out both for her and her property.

Two more folks with water bottles entered the store.

…along with an elderly gentleman to whom I had sold a small bucket of chlorine tabs two hours before. When he was in earlier he was all hunched over, wearing a mask, seeming like a Joe Biden wanna-be – not really with it, asking his wife for help on everything.

The phone rang. This was a woman who said her husband wasn’t around (I didn’t ask why), but with two young children screaming in the background she wanted to know what the the results of the last water test was so she would know what chemicals to put in their pool. Looking at the line forming behind the water test station, all I could do was suggest she bring in a new water sample and we’d take it from there. Not good enough – she wanted to talk.

I was finally able to dispatch the woman who smelled like cotton candy with a bottle of no phosphates and a promise that she’d come back on Saturday for another water test. (I didn’t advise her to find another perfume.)

By this time the elderly gentleman with the bucket of tabs was no longer the feeble old gentleman I had helped earlier. Not only wasn’t he wearing his mask and feeble, but he wasn’t hunched over, either. He starts berating me and my store for charging him for a bucket of chlorine tabs that were all busted up. I tell him we can’t accept opened chemicals of any kind for returns, but we can do a straight-up exchange. Right in front of everyone he goes from Cat 4 to Cat 5.

(Normally, at this point, I would call the store manager, but I’ve still got the woman whose husband seems to have mysteriously disappeared on the line and I’m still trying to encourage her to bring a damned water sample into the store.)

Two more people come in the store for water tests. The line is now four deep.

To just get rid of the he irate elderly gentleman that I’ll refund his bucket of tabs (I’ll explain that to my store manager later), but only that (he had bought a chlorine floater with his purchase as well.

I finally get rid of the woman with the missing husband (and, more importantly in my view) the missing water test. The phone rings again. Now it’s a woman who wants to know if we have a play pool for children. I apologize to the crowd waiting for their water tests and get her a price.

In the confusion I make the mistake of refunding all the elderly gentleman’s earlier purchase (not just the chlorine tabs but the floater). He threatens that he’s going to go to Costco and get some “real” chlorine tabs. All I can say is – calmly – for him to do what he thinks he ought to do.

The folks in the water test line are getting restless. I see it in their body language.

I start the next water test, but realize I need to make sure the elderly gentleman still has to pay for the floater he bought earlier (remember, I refunded that as well as his “defective” chlorine tabs). I ring him up up and apologize for the broken up tabs. The register starts spitting out reams and reams of receipts of every different kind. It’s madness. I try to keep them all together and apologize to the gentleman for the defective product.

I complete the water test in front of me and sell the guy some chemicals.

I complete the next person’s water test and do the same.

That’s when I realize that the so-called “defective” bucket of tabs is no longer on the sales counter. Not only is the old, seemingly-decrepit elderly gentleman gone, but so are his “defective” tabs.

“Son of a bitch!” I yell, the four customers in the store wide-eyed at my pronouncement. “That old son of a bitch took me for a schnook!”.

Everyone laughs.

But it’s not funny – at least to me. Not only had I been played like some whale in Vegas, I also have to explain it to my store manager tomorrow morning. At least it was only $45 – we know there are professional hucksters who have taken our stores for $1K a pop.

It pisses me off that it was just circumstances that got me played for a fool. But it doesn’t feel good.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:56 | Comments (0)

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