January 15, 2019

Caught this post by Ace of Spades because it had to do with one of my favorite subjects: wine:

Oh, to answer the question: “good wine” means the one you like and can afford (the cheaper the better). I generally stick to a particular style of wine, and currently that means Australian Shiraz or Shiraz-blends that are made in the old style of big fruit and not a lot of tannin and acid. Unfortunately they are getting harder and harder to find, because ass-hats like the writer of the above review have an out-sized influence on wine-making style. Don’t let their virtue-signalling idiocy influence your wine buying. Wine writers are mostly full of shit, and themselves, and what little utility they provide is a consistency in description, and not all of them can do that. Find one who makes sense, and figure out how he describes the kind of wine you like. Hell, he might hate it, but as long as he uses the same descriptors you’ll be fine.

I never thought about using that strategy before, but I’ll bet it works. I’m no wine snob, but if other folks want to be so that’s OK with me. With wine, it’s all about the mood and what you like.

…BTW, there are two really good movies having to do with wine: “Sideways”, and “Bottle Shock”. “A Good Year” isn’t bad, either – but then again, how could it not be? Anything with Russell Crowe in it has gotta be good, right?

But I digress.

Me, I have to say I’m not really adventurous when it comes to wine, but I’ll try anything once. I do try to stay away from Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, only because I find them a little heavy for my tastes. For reds, I’m more of a blends guy. I absolutely luv-luv-luv Greg Norman Estates Cabernet Merlot and virtually any kind of chianti. As far as whites, my go-to is Pino Grigio, the drier the better. My daily habit is a couple of glasses of Principato, but on a hot summer afternoon after a round of golf a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, or even a Riesling, is OK by me.

You can read the rest of Ace’s post for good wine talk, but check out the embedded video for chicken-fried steak. Man, that got my mouth watering pretty good. The chef’s idea of cutting the fat out of that pice of ribeye and using it for flavoring is pretty cool. Just so’s ya know, just as Omaha Steaks makes one helluva pot roast (although you got to keep checking for when it’s on sale), they also make a very nice chicken-fried steak. Heat both sides in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes a side and it makes for a very nice dinner with shredded or diced potatoes.

…and the chef is right about beef and pork fat. Never, ever cook your bacon in a microwave! Cook it on the stovetop and save the reserved grease for when you’re doing home fries or shredded spuds, or (my favorite) cook your cut-up Brussels sprouts in it with a little white wine, garlic, and chopped onion. You’ll be glad you did!

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January 14, 2019

First the good news: had my follow-up with the hand quack who performed my Xiaflex procedure. He called it a “home run”, said it couldn’t have gone better. I mentioned my concerns about the pain and swelling I was still having, and he assured me it would go away in time. I’m counting on him for that to be true, because, while I can swing a golf club OK, hitting balls right now is out of the question. On Saturday I went down the street to the PGA Tour Superstore and hit some 7-irons from the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach, then had to quit after five balls because of the pain. My PT says I’m at least 6-8 weeks away from hitting balls without uncomfortable pain, although there is a possibility, albeit rare, it could take upwards of a year before that kind of pain is fully resolved. That sucks. If that’s the case, hasta la vista, Goodboys 2019. I’ll admit, I’m feeling a tad frustrated right now.

…but you read some of the stories of others who had the same procedure and, damn, I am fortunate.

This is pretty funny.

Been watching the Jillian Michaels / Al Roker debate over the keto diet and lifestyle from afar, and it’s pretty amusing. My view is that, while Michaels is a total fox, she’s also nothing more than a huckster in the same vein as, say, Rachael Ray and all the other Food Network stars. Take everything they say and sell with a grain of salt. It’s not like there isn’t a huge problem out there that Michaels is ignoring:

America has been fed (pun intended) false information about nutrition for decades. One biased and utterly garbage study was used as the basis of the “Food Pyramid” that the federal government touted for half a century (watch “The Magic Pill” on Netflix). The Food Pyramid’s biggest accomplishment was to help make heart disease the number one killer in America.

Thanks, experts!

A huge industry has grown up around helping fat people not be fat. This is because there are so many fat people in America. Jillian Michaels has profited greatly in this industry. A New World Order in which people can lose weight simply by buying better groceries and not spending money on “fat burner” supplements (which Michaels sells) is bound to be disturbing to those who have made a lot of money under the old system.

Michaels’ complete lack of regard in her rants for the most basic facts about keto lead me to believe that she is more fearful of the easy-to-obtain benefits of the lifestyle than she is about the well-being of the dieting public.

In Michael’s case, one would think given her history she’d be more interested in the welfare of folks to the extent that whatever inspires them and helps them to lose weight, just do it.

Me? I don’t trust anything – and I mean anything – the government and so-called “experts” tell me about anything. Think about it: the nanny state has never been more intrusive in our lives, and you have to wonder who the so-called “experts” are driving that agenda. You have Big Government, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Food, Big Education, and Big Entertainment working together to push “common wisdom” on everything from diet to climate change, from cars we should be driving all the way down to baby car seats and sunscreen. And what has been the result? As a country and a culture we’ve become fat, physically and intellectually lazy, over-reliant on government, all to willing to accept opinion stated as fact, and unwilling to face hard facts and make tough choices about what the role of government is in our lives.

The president is right about the need to protect our southern border, but there’s also trouble afoot at our northern border as well. I personally don’t care as much about the wall as that we start taking seriously the enforcement of our immigration laws. If you are found here illegally, you’re allowed to apply for asylum. If your situation doesn’t apply, you go to the back of the line and are deported until you’re either accepted or turned down. A wall alone isn’t going to stop illegal immigration if we as a country can’t or won’t support our own immigration laws.

If you’ve got the body for it, the answer is yes. Next question?

As I’ve been saying all along, the whole “Russia Collusion” thing was nothing more than an Obama White House plot to torpedo the Trump administration’s ability to get its footing and protect both the “Deep State” and Obama’s socialist agenda from being overturned. The biggest mistake President Trump made was appointing a Washington insider like Jeff Sessions as Attorney General instead of someone who could find all the bad actors in the DOJ, Department of State, and the FBI who created two separate codes of justice: one for Hillary Clinton and them, the other for the rest of us.

This could be the first book I download onto the Kindle I got for Christmas. Looks like it’s a “must have” for all Jaws afficianados out there, most especially a few I know in GB Nation.

Asking the important questions. Me? I often wondered the same thing. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

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January 12, 2019

Thoughts heading into a weekend while wondering where the heck the last week went. I had planned to do some blogging but between work, the house, and the cars the week just got away from me. Eh, better luck next week!

Larry Schweikert has a fascinating Twitter thread about dieting and how the federal government (most especially, the FDA) is full of crap with their recommended studies published by so-called “experts”. I can – and will, starting in three weeks – drop 5-10 pounds on the Eades Diet (a modified Adkins Diet) and cutting out caffeine and alcohol. This time around, I’ll condense the first four weeks into two weeks as a way to just kick off the new year. After that, I’ll just continue to significantly reduce my intake of processed foods, eliminate high-fructose corn syrup and anything “white” – breads, pasta, sweets. It’s actually easy-peasy.

I can’t say that our house has much in the terms of clutter, but this makes sense to me. Me? I’m a minimalist, but inside Tracey lurks the soul of a hoarder who I doubt would throw anything out if given the choice. It’s not necessarily a New Year’s resolution, but I did resolve to reorganize all our closets and cabinets in both the garage and the house with the goal of culling out anything unnecessary and redundant.

I’ve been suspecting this kind of thing for years; most certainly, the Catholic Church would know more than anyone. Now, are most gays pedophiles? Of course not. But I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that the majority of pedophiles are gays. And they’ve been protected (and I would add, even encouraged) by an aggressive infiltration of major media and our colleges and universities by radical leftist and LGBTQ+ social activists. As I’ve said many times before, what you do in your bedroom is your business, but keep it out of my face. More and more, LGBTQ+ activists want to put their deviant lifestyles anywhere impressionable young people are – young people who don’t know any better. It’s disgraceful, but this is the way these deviants convince themselves that what they are is just natural and the norm – something far from the case.

I think it’s arguable which state produces the worst politicians, California or Massachusetts, but Howie Carr makes a pretty convincing case that the Bay State would take the cake. Think about it: any state whose voters would re-elect a transparent phony liar and elitist Elizabeth Warren as its senior senator has to be pretty bad. You’ll never see me planting my residential feet there ever again, I can tell you that. There are few better places than Massachusetts to visit in the summer and the fall, but politically, the state and its left-leaning ideology and Democratic politicians and political hacks are a cancer.

Hmmm. Maybe if I were a NFL defensive back I, too, would want the likes of Colin Kaepernick back in the league. A good opportunity to pad my stats for a salary run!

Another example of liberalism and its PC culture being a mental disorder. If there is anything good about liberals and liberalism, it is that both know nothing about moderation, so they’ll keep pushing and pushing their various agendas until a majority of the country (which presently considers them more of an annoyance than anything else), starts pushing back, big time. Maybe it will be when their towns try to ban the use of plastic straws or plastic shopping bags, or become magnets for the homeless and their camps – who knows? I’ve always said my generation, the baby boomers, are the worst thing that ever descended upon this country. Fortunately, a new generation is soon coming that, along with future generations, are going to sweep these morons away like a Gulf Coast hurricane.

While it’s too soon to tell how the Sox bullpen this year is to be configured, I have to agree. Here’s an idea: since Craig Kimbrel is still out there waiting for his big free-agent deal, why not offer him a one-year deal with a nice raise so he can try and prove himself for next year’s free-agent market? He was more than a rollercoaster last year, but he was an integral part of the team’s World Series championship.

This is CNN. Disgraceful.

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January 5, 2019

It’s the first weekend of the New Year, but, looking around, things don’t seem or look a whole lot different to me than they did a week ago. Me? I’ll be stripping the house – inside and outside – of all the Christmas remnants and getting some more house-cleaning in. January is a great month for that kind of thing.

Lots of folks like to use a new year for predicting future events. Now I’m no Jeremiah, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if, by this time next year, the Middle East will look a whole lot different politically than it does right now. Between a Palestinian / Israeli peace accord (which I believe the Trump administration is working hard on behind the scenes) and the inevitable collapse of the mullah’s regime in Iran, we could be on the verge of something historically ground-breaking. It wouldn’t, of course, mean an end to all the violence and turmoil over there, but the major players could look quite different than they do now.

…the sad thing is that Barack Obama had a golden chance to make all this happen eight years ago and chose to back (as he always did) Islam’s worst players and most extreme factions. Just another example of someone who I believe truly could have been one of the great presidents of all time, but he was just another arrogant leftist who surrounded himself with only like-minded people and actually believed all the glorified bullshit the mainstream media would regurgitate throughout his presidency.

…I am, however, going to go out on a limb and predict that Tiger Woods is going to get hurt again in 2019 to the point where we never see him again. Of course, that’s really a no-brainer – he had spent the better part of the past ten years hurt in one way or the other. Are you going to tell me that a complicated (albeit successful) spinal fusion operation turned his entire body into Superman? Of course not. You know what they say about tide and time – they wait for no man. Not even Tiger Woods.

R.I.P. Daryl Dragon, the “Captain” of The Captain and Tennille fame, who passed away Wednesday just a couple hours up the road in Prescott. Before he and his wife struck gold as a pop duo, Dragon played both an influential and instrumental (no pun intended) role in The Beach Boys between the years 1970 and 1972. His keyboard playing is all over the Sunflower, Surf’s Up, and Carl and the Passions – So Tough albums, and he never got credit for the many arrangements on tracks like “Don’t Go Near The Water” (he designed the song’s haunting a capella tag), “Forever” and “Cuddle Up” (Tennille can be heard singing high harmony during the middle section). It’s my favorite era in the group’s history, and Dragon had a, if not significant role, an important one in the group’s sound during that era.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. The college football season should be over and done with by now. January football belongs to the NFL. The fact the that college football can’t get finished on New Year’s Day is nothing more than corporate greed run amok – pretty much like everything else these days.

A very important article by Trevor Thomas over at The American Thinker about the virus of gender identification running amok through our culture. It’s a complicated issue for a genuine minority (I’m guessing), but in the vast majority of cases I’m guessing this is outright mental illness caused by brainwashing (culturally or parentally) and the victims exploited by the radical LGBTQ community as a wedge issue designed to make them feel good about their own neuroses and sexual hang-ups and deviancies. The fact that you have men identifying themselves as women allowed to compete in women’s sports is a sad and pathetic joke on the state of our culture, but you have powerful forces at the local, state, and federal level encouraging and seeking to legislate this kind of evil (which is what it is) and madness.

And speaking of our culture, it’s true, we have become a nation of slobs. One of the things I’ve come to hate about flying is seeing how people are dressed for air travel. I see folks dressed better at the gym! The next time you fly, take a good look at how people are dressed: lots of sandals without socks, sweats, and folks who obviously don’t care about how they are viewed by others. Which is one reason why, I believe, air travel has become such a hassle: people dress poorly and act poorly. I would sure hate to be a flight attendant these days. People that dress better act accordingly. But that genie was allowed to escape from the bottle years ago.

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January 2, 2019

It was a blissfully quiet start to 2019 here in the Richard household. The dining room, as beautiful and functional as it was during the holiday season – it never looked better! – was stripped of all its Christmas dressings, cleaned from top to bottom, and the dining room table adorned with a new centerpiece I bought at the Tranquility Trail thrift store for only fourteen bucks. Looks great, doesn’t it?

The same with the office, where the old ceramic tree originally given Tracey thirty years ago by my mom was returned to another year of storage in the garage. With the heat that place gets during a Valley of the Sun summer, it’s amazing it has held up this long. But it has. The Christmas tree in the living room and the outdoor house lights and decorations will have to wait until Saturday to come down, but come down, they will!

The first day of a new year has another tradition in the Richard household – which is, starting preparation for tax season. So all the receipts and the bills paid by check during 2018 are removed from their respective drawer and desk slot (only one slot this year, thanks to reducing our credit card usage to two cards and then paying them off as they are used) and put into Fry’s shopping bags for future reference. I’m not sure if we’re going to do the taxes this year ourselves or whether we’ll have someone else do them for us; either way, I’ll soon be working on the master Excel spreadsheet that will steer the process through to its inevitable (and expensive!) end.

Even though it was unusually rainy and cold on New Year’s Eve, I did some grilling and spirits were high so I got decked out in the “Commander in Beef” grilling apron my sis-in-law Tammy gave me for a Christmas present:

You don’t get too many New Years in the Valley of the Sun where it is cold and rainy (disappointing for all the folks visiting their snowbird friends for the holidays, I’m sure), but after two more mornings where the temps will be either at or below freezing, it looks like a return to the kind of “Arizona winter” most folks are accustomed to around these parts. The coming weekend would be perfect for hitting golf balls if I could hit golf balls, but that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. My physical therapist says the hand is coming along nicely, but she says it will likely be another month before I start feeling comfortable enough to begin hitting balls, and that I need to be patient and let the healing process run its course. I hope she’s right – I’ll feel better about things only after hearing what the hand doctor says when I visit him next Monday. Hoping for the best.

At any rate, the year is off to a flying start!

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January 1, 2019

The old saying goes that whatever you are doing when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s indicates how the next year is going to go for you. That’s where the tradition of kissing at midnight came from. The twins and I rang in an unusually wet and cold 2019 watching reruns of the old TV series Emergency! at midnight, and I toasted in the new year wearing a Bermuda T-shirt and with a finger of Pusser’s with one cube. So that either means 2019 will have a lot of emergency room visits (hope not!) or a trip to Bermuda (hope so!).

However y’all spent your own New Year’s Eve – and I hope it was a happy one – a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 to all from Goodboys Nation weblog!

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December 31, 2018

I’m writing this post on a late Saturday night instead of New Year’s Eve so the whole “rolling of the year” nonsense doesn’t influence this post with any kind of sentimentality. The twins are fast asleep and it’s just me, a cold Sam Adams Boston Lager at the ready, and Marlie the rabbit in her rabbit area behind me, the sounds of typing in an otherwise-quiet house.

Whenever I start my last post of any year, the first thing I do is copy the last post from the previous year to see if it contains anything relevant to what I might use as a muse for this year’s. Reading the very first paragraph of last year’s December 31 post, I had to laugh (italics mine):

And so another year goes into the history books. While this year was a far improvement over 2016 – a year when we lost my mom and our beloved rabbit Cosmo – the shadows cast by this past month and the ongoing crisis at work remain long and deep, with the chaos promising to extend into the first few weeks of 2018, if not longer. As a result, my job security isn’t what it seemed to be just five long weeks ago; when and if the dust settles on this particular engagement you can bet folks are going to lose their jobs and everyone will be looking for scapegoats. I just hope mine is not one of them, but you never know..

What a laugh. The chaos lasted longer than a “first few weeks”. Try, instead, the better part of five months. Five. Friggin’. Months. And, after hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not a million – given away to “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” in order to get their software solution stable, no one – and I mean no one – has lost their job. The incompetents, morons, and dick-heads are all still around – some in different positions, others still inflicting the same kind of damage on other clients, but no one (at least to my knowledge) on the unemployment rolls. It’s pretty damned pathetic when you think of it.

Me and my team? We’re all still slogging away, still working towards a “final solution” where we can finish our implementation and move on. But I will say this: perhaps it’s all in one’s perception. One of the big-wigs we have been working with at “TCWSRN” and I were both talking after a call. He told me that, while there were a few of his cohorts who were still pissed at being promised functionality that really wasn’t there (something I had nothing to do with) overall he and his unit were very satisfied at the responsiveness, competence, and dedication of my team to make things right. He told me how one of his industry cohorts in a similar position at another company implementing a similar solution from another software vendor were still struggling to get the basic fundamentals down five years after their initial implementation. That may well be true, but it’s still not solace for how badly I was treated those first chaotic months of 2018 when no one – and I mean no one had my back. Not only will I never forget, I won’t forgive, either.

Looking back, 2018 was really a tale of two years: the first five months and the last seven. And while the first five months were really bad between work, worrying about my dad’s health and living arrangements, losing my beloved Auntie Marge (my mom’s sister), and Tracey reinjuring her shoulder, during that time who could have known that the seeds were being planted for the kind of turnaround the second half of the year would bring. Dad’s illness in January led to my exploratory visit on a bitterly cold and icy afternoon to the senior living facility he would eventually move into in August. At the time, it seemed a huge stretch with too many hoops and hurdles to overcome, but while the process was incredibly stressful for everyone involved (not the least, Dad), we slowly and gradually worked through them all, and everything ended up working out better than any of us could have reasonably hoped. By the end of April, my team had finally figured out a way to stabilize things at “TCWSRN”, and so the daily 7 AM and nightly 10 PM calls finally dwindled away to nothing.

By the time July came, all the focus was on my dad’s inevitable move. After a few months of looking at the options available, he was ready for a visit to Summer Place. After which we sat down, ran the numbers, and knew we could make it happen. All of a sudden there was lots to do (after all, he and my mom had lived in the same apartment for the better part of fifteen years) but Dad was excited about the move and that made it all so much easier. Within six weeks, he was in his new digs, he had turned in the last car he would ever drive, and was happy in his new living arrangements, which in turn made all of us who love and care for him happy as well!

Around that time we had our annual Goodboys Invitational weekend, but with everything else going on at the time my heart wasn’t really in it. I hadn’t worked as hard on my golf game as I had in the past, and I was still learning how to play with new graphite irons, so between everything going on off and on the course I didn’t play well. On top of that, the hotel arrangements for the Goodboys I thought I had locked down tight with the Foxwoods folks didn’t turn out to be locked down at all. They screwed everything up, and it was left to you-know-who to get all the arrangements re-worked out. To me, the weekend was just more stress on top of the stress I was already feeling, and I was too burned out to enjoy myself at all.

Actually, it wasn’t until late September and nine holes played on the last 100-degree day of the year at TPC Scottsdale that my love for the game was re-kindled. It wasn’t due to anything in particular – the staff, the course, and the people I played with just made it such an enjoyable experience that I was able to remove all the expectations and just play the game for the love of it. A couple of weeks later, I got a great golf tip from my Goodboys pal Killer, and it has really helped out my game. In December, I finally decided to have my right hand worked on to correct the Dupuytren’s contracture that had become more than just a passing nuisance. Until the guy showing us back patio replacement doors shook my hand earlier today, my recovery seemed to be progressing nicely. Now I’m not so sure. But we’ll see what the doc says at my follow-up appointment in a week’s time.

So that’s about it in a nutshell. Another year older and survived. More time passed to see just how quickly the passage of time now passes. I’m sixty-three years old, and next October we’ll be meeting with our finance guy to look at – gasp! – Medicare options. Sigh. Forget the idea of what folks call the “golden years”. Not to get maudlin about it, but where’s the “golden” in a future where more bodily functions and parts stop working as efficiently or as you’ve been accustomed to? I guess all you can do is try to keep yourself in as good a shape as possible.

So what about 2019? Well, for starters I’m planning on following in my dad’s footsteps – he’s always loved to walk and is religious about it – and start walking a brisk two-mile walk three times a week. Our subdivision is perfectly designed for taking walks without the risk of getting killed, so I’m going to do it as soon as work is finished for the day. I’d like to start playing more golf in 2019, but I’m not as optimistic as I felt just a few days ago. Tonight my hand hurts, and badly. I’ve been thinking a lot about the blog and just how long I can keep it going. While a favorite Beach Boys board disappeared without so much of a murmur and another of my favorite bloggers recently tossed in the towel, I’m planning to keep on keeping on as long I’m (and I hope y’all) are entertained enough with what I write. But as Betsy decided, I won’t blog just for the sake of blogging. When I feel I’ve said everything that needs to be said, or it becomes more of a chore than enjoyment, I too will shut the lid on the PC and just walk away.

So that’s that. Another year in the books. Who knows what will happen in 2019. Will I still be blogging? Will I still be employed? Will I still be a Goodboy? Will I still be alive? Who knows? But y’all will be there to witness the ride as long as the ride is good. I want to sincerely thank everyone who considers this outpost in the blogsphere a part of your daily (or occasional) Internet habit. I enjoy writing for the entertainment it provides, but it’s always nicer when you know there are people who occasionally read what you write. So thank you for that.

OK, time to skedaddle. See y’all on the flip of the calendar and the start of a New Year. I know I’m ready for that flip, are you? Take us outta here, George!

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December 29, 2018

It’s the last weekend of the year. It’s gonna be a cold one in the Valley of the Sun, with freeze warnings up through beyond the New Year. I hope everyone enjoyed the pic of my bougainvillea on my Christmas Colors post the other day, because they’re surely going to get whacked in the coming days – especially if, as predicted, our lows drop into the high twenties on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But things are already looking up as a new year approaches – yesterday I actually had to adjust my landscaping lights to come on later for the first time. Sunrise is still getting a tad later – they won’t start getting earlier for another week, but the later sunsets are making up for that, and more.

It’s pretty clear President Trump is getting ready to drop the bomb on recalcitrant Democrats resisting the funding for the border wall – my guess is he’ll announce the closing of our southern border starting New Year’s Day. As Powerline blog’s John Hinderaker writes, this is an issue the President can’t lose on. It not only makes sense both practically and politically, but only the most fervent anti-Trump, open borders advocate would know it’s the right thing to do. Especially given recent headlines. The Democrats are going to get killed on this politically (even “San Fran Nan” Pelosi and Chuckles Schumer know it), but they are being held captive by the radical leftist “resisters” of their party.

OK, here’s a good joke, courtesy of a recent Ace of Spades post:

Seal pup waddles into the bar.
Barkeep: Wadda’have?
Seal pup: Canadian Club, on ice.

…and from the same post:

You’re locked in a cage with a lawyer, a snarling tiger, and a coiled boa constrictor. Fortunately, you have a gun with two bullets. What do you do? Answer: Shoot the lawyer. Twice.

Yuck yuck!

As a fan of Nikki Haley, I think President Trump would be doing the country – not to mention the GOP – in considering replacing Mike Pence with Haley as his running mate come 2020. It would not only expand Trump’s base, but it would a dynamic to the ticket – not to mention the race – that Pence simply can’t come close to adding. Were it any other, ahem, politician, it would never happen, but Trump is not your ordinary politician, and nothing he does would surprise me.

I sure hope good taxpayer money wasn’t spent on this study. I mean, isn’t that, like, obvious?

If I can find the time I’m thinking of actually going out to see this movie on a big screen. It’s a phenomenon few saw coming.

Time for the NFL to reap the whirlwind it has created. When the emphasis becomes fairness, equal opportunity, and social justice instead of on winning being the “the only thing” (as ol’ Vince Lombardi used to say), you’re just an exercise in political correctness, not a sport.

Progressives are crazy. Not to mention dangerous as well, because inside every progressive is a fascist totalitarian waiting to crawl out.

Not everyone would agree, but I’ve always believed that prostitution (male and female) should be completely legal, regulated, and taxed as any other service or commodity. Why? Because while golf is hard, life is harder and oh so short. Therefore, whatever connections you need to help make it more tolerable and fulfilling, it should be OK to pursue it. There are many forms of love, and as equal forms of connections – emotional, physical, spiritual – and if a little legal nookie on the side is what would help keep your boat afloat, why not?

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December 27, 2018

A few items and observations to finish off Christmas like so much used-up bows and torn wrapping paper…

Larry Scheweikart recalls the miracles of Christmas in 1776.

How the Creator of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” got the Gospel past network executives.

Mark Steyn tells the story of Elvis’s classic “Blue Christmas”, and, surprisingly, it starts long before Elvis got a hold of it.

Professional golfers share their Christmas photos.

The phenomenon of Christmas movies on cable. And it’s not just the Hallmark channels (there are more than one, but ION has had them as well. I find this interesting:

What’s even more interesting is that they all suggest Christmas is a time of magical salvation from the forces of modern isolation and loneliness. The plots almost always involve a young woman from a big city who finds herself, for some reason, in a picturesque small town. She is either unmarried, or engaged to someone unexciting, or sadly widowed. In the small town she finds a manly man, usually someone who works with his hands, who was either her high school boyfriend and has remained a bachelor because he pines for her or is sadly widowered.

The town is wonderful. The man is wonderful. And yet the woman has a life back in the city. But a few poinsettias, a crackling fire with some stockings hanging nearby and somehow kept from catching fire, a spinet playing carols, and a bearded man who just may be the actual Santa Claus, and you know she’s not going back to her soulless lonely modern existence. She will stay in the small town, protected from the Christmas-lessness of the everyday world, and find peace.

The movies are all predictable, where only the faces and names have been changed. And, as Al Perrotta notes they all have fifteen essentials:

1. A quaint picturesque village wrapped in garland and holiday lights and a blanket of snow.
2. A quaint name for the village or the lodge or inn or farm that is the setting for the action.
3. An equally quaint little kid with one or more parents dead. (In the case of Finding Father Christmas, Mom drops dead while performing A Christmas Carol.)
4. An apple-cheeked older woman who wants to help everyone, with husband who tells her to “leave ’em be.”
5. A professional woman who has lost track of her true self. She’s either given up on dating or is dating someone equally driven in his career who is perfect for where she is in life. Or so she tells people in a not quite believable way.
6. A sassy sidekick or sibling or assistant really hoping she lightens up.
7. Arrival, whether planned or accidental, in said quaint village.
8. A hunk who the professional woman who has lost track of herself happens upon seconds after arriving in said picturesque village. Usually the hunk is a total stranger seemingly opposite in every way. However, union rules require that one in four be a childhood or high school sweetheart who just didn’t work out for all the wrong reasons.
9. Cups of hot chocolate with a peppermint stick. (To my chagrin, no one ever seems to poke their eye out.)
10. A bakery with desserts that make you gain three pounds just from watching.
11. A former, aged soap star chewing scenery.
12. A sudden snowstorm.
13. A gradual falling in love, even though everyone in the family, town — even the animal life — knew it from the second they saw the two together.
14. A touch of supernatural Christmas magic.
15. A final (or first) kiss as the snow flakes fall.

It’s all just pretty people acting around snow that isn’t really snow, air that isn’t cold (not a breath to be seen anywhere), and the same plots acted out behind stock winter footage. What I have noticed is, that, unlike, say, movies based off of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, there’s precious little mention of “the reason for the season” at all: one movie Tracey was watching had a scene inside a church where a choir was practicing Christmas hymns, but it was just because the couple happened in their by accident. As far as the Hallmark movies are concerned, nativity scenes are replaced by homes and offices resplendent in Christmas decorations, ugly Christmas sweaters are everywhere, and the brokenness of the world can only be repaired with togetherness and family as a result of “Christmas” making things right.

…speaking of nativity scenes, the opening scene of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” is a classic. The writing is both funny and superb, and the music schmaltzy and over-the-top – worthy of Cecil B. DeMille, but the genius lies in how the writers were able to weave in physical comedy and irreverent wordplay while still treating the Gospel account with reverence. It’s classic.

But I digress.

There was one Hallmark movie I saw a fair piece of where a church hires a social outreach coordinator to “help lift the town’s spirits”, so how does she do that? Evangelize to grow the church so it can increase its ability to help those most needy in the community? Of course not, you silly goose! She recruits town members to make sure the church and the town is most happily and seasonally decorated in the most secular fashion. After all, you don’t need Jesus when you can have Christmas trees, decorations, and lights of all kinds to lift folks spirits, right?

Bottom line is, you’d be hard-pressed to find any real Christian (or even spiritual) message in any of these movies. It’s as if the concept of Christmas came out of nowhere. And I find that kind of disturbing and sad.

Oh well, at least this year I’ve noticed more African-American actors, but I don’t think (I may be wrong) I’ve seen any Asians in any major role. Maybe next year. eh? Or perhaps there will be Asians in a leading role in the winter-themed movies they’ll be showing once we get past the holidays – I heard that last night. Not sure what these “winter”-themed movies will be about, but I’m guessing it will all be the same, without the Christmas decorations; they’ll keep the snow and the plot lines, just eliminate the Christmas theme. It’s not too early to start pushing Valentine’s Day, so perhaps that will be the overriding concept.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:32 | Comments (0)
December 24, 2018

So this is what our dining room looks like all dressed up for Christmas. It didn’t look like this a week ago, I’ll tell you! It was full of empty boxes and piles of clothes from Tracey’s walk-in closet as a result of our little redesign project. Having her closet all nice and organized meant that all the clothes she no longer needed had to go somewhere, so for the better part of six months that place was the dining room. Everyone who came in through the front door saw all the clothes and empty boxes and asked us if we were moving. One guy even asked us what our asking price was – he was that interested in buying our house on the spot!

But last weekend the twins got motivated, and within the course of an hour or two the dining room was restored to its normal function and prettied up with a tablecloth perfect for the holidays. On Thursday, the boxes full of clothes were picked up Big Brothers / Big Sisters where they will be put to very good use, I’m certain. The Christmas tree on the end of the table is perfectly positioned to make folks passing by our house think we have a huge tree in the front room. Hey, it does the job!

Today, I’ll be venturing out to buy enough wine to fill the wine rack (under the wall hanging, left) so that the room is truly ready for the kind of holiday cheer that lasts through the New Year (at least the first two weeks!). So the three of us will be having Christmas Eve dinner by Christmas light – an Omaha Steaks pot roast with roasted potatoes, vegetables, and shrimp cocktail as an appetizer, with a bottle or two of Greg Norman Estates Cabernet Merlot. Ought to be festive, no?

Of course, over at my sister-in-law Tam’s apartment, the only creatures that will be stirring this Christmas Eve are her three rabbits (Butterscotch, Bailey, and Midget Lee), who could care less whether it is Christmas or not. But just so they do know, Tam has left the radio on to that station that’s been playing Christmas music since the day after Halloween. Lots of it is just absolute crap, the Christmas music equivalent of dishwater – just while I was over feeding the rabbits and doing my own Christmas wrapping in private I was “treated” to the likes of that insipid orgy of ’80s music self-indulgence, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (total rot), Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (soooo gay), Chuck Berry’s “Run, Run, Rudolph” (sooooo bad), and the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (ugh). The absolute dregs of Christmas music. Out of respect for the audience that I believe frequents this blog, I ain’t linking to them; if your own Christmas tradition includes having your ears tortured, you can find them all on YouTube.

You’d think with all that time on their hands they’d find a way embed stuff that was truly interesting and uniquely seasonal – stuff like Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne” (the fascinating story of which is here), Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’s “Let It Snow, Let It Snow”, Let It Snow” (one of several standout tracks on their “Christmas Album”, BTW), The Beach Boys’ “Morning Christmas”, Mariah Carey’s “O Holy Night”, or Shawn Colvin’s “In The Bleak Midwinter”, Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells”, Alison Kraus and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Wexford Carol”, or anything Christmas by Loreena McKennitt or Enya. But alas, that would be expecting far too much.

Of course, not everything I heard was crap, but when Whitney Houston’s overwrought “Do You Hear What I Hear”, the Eagles’ “Please Be Home for Christmas”, and The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas, Darling” are the best of the lot – well, I’m glad the rabbits really don’t give a bunny hoot.

Still, decorating presents by Tam’s tree and the nativity scene we gave her as part of my parents’ old Christmas stuff when we cleaned out Dad’s apartment earlier this year was nice. The nativity scene goes back to my childhood and holds fond memories – me and my brothers would know Christmas was coming when Dad would drag out the card table and put the nativity scene and my mom’s Christmas card address box on it. So time passes as does life in its own way.

—-

What a difference from last year where the better part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were spent on the computer with my team trying to get “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” under some kind of control (something that would take the next four months to do, but I didn’t know it then). It was a miserable time – the worst I’ve ever known in my life. But let’s forget about the past, shall we? Let’s just enjoy what we have and the relative peace and normalcy of the present – after all, who knows where we’ll all be and in what situations we’ll each be in a year from now, right?

I do hope everyone’s Christmas preparations are all going well, wherever y’all may be.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:54 | Comments (2)

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