July 16, 2020

….for their 30th anniversary golf weekend starting tomorrow, while my thoughts will be with them, I’m pretty damned happy at my decision to beg out of this year’s festivities given all the mask-wearing travel amongst scaredy-cats who don’t realize just how they’re all being played by the national media. As those who frequent this outpost in the blogsphere are well aware, I’ve never bought into the COVID-19 hysteria, believing that (a) had “blue state” governors not condemned to death tens of thousands of elderly people to their deaths we would have death numbers quite close to an average flu season, (b) if our political intelligencia had been privy to more realistic data than the bogus models of “experts” predicting millions of U.S. deaths, and (c) if the COVID-19 responses by certain elected officials (and most especially the mainstream media) hadn’t been politicized to the nth degree by false reporting and hyped-up hysteria I might actually be in Massachusetts today getting ready to join the Goodboys to commemorate this august achievement.

Thirty years is a long time. I was 34 years old – 34! – when the “founding fathers” first went to Bethel, Maine for an overnight / 2 rounds of golf thing. At that point there were no “Goodboys” per se (not sure how many years later that name came about), but it wasn’t that many. Back then, Tracey and I had our cats Rascal and Bandit, and the idea of having rabbits as pets would still be a good nine years and a move to Louisville, Kentucky later.

Thirty years is a long time. George H.W. Bush was president, and right about the time the “founders” were gathering at Bethel, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was announcing he would run for the presidency the following year. Ian Woosnam was the reigning Masters champion, Payne Stewart had won his iconic U.S. Open victory, Ian Baker-Finch – Ian Baker-Finch! – had won the British Open, and a brash newcomer named John Daly had surprised at the PGA. Music-wise, nothing much was happening. Don’t believe me? Look at the names on this list. OMG.

Back in those days (when men were men) there was as much legendary drinking as there was golf. For the first eight years, northern New England was the primary destination before the “first infusion” of new blood ushered in the Cape Cod era which lasted quite a long time. Lots of great memories there. Over the past decade or so (and yet another infusion of new blood), the ‘Boys have been splitting time between Portsmouth and Plymouth, and the renewing of acquaintances and the retelling of – to coin a phrase from Jimmy Buffett – “short stories with long laughs” has taken greater precedence over the rather impressive drinking exploits of the days of yore.

Most of the Goodboys remain like brothers (or at least distant cousins) to me. I’ll never forget “Vegas” Clark making a 2 hour drive from his home on the Cape to pay his respects at my brother Mark’s wake. My mom never forgot that amazing gesture as long as she lived. Same holds true for the year my mom passed away, when all the stress and strain of the previous six months came pouring out of me at the Goodboys in 2016; the guys (and particularly my partner “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin, who experienced it all first-hand) helped me get through the weekend when it was hard keeping it all together. I will never forget these acts of kindness and true brotherhood.

Somewhere along the line, however, the shine started wearing off on it all. Just being back in New England and familiar surroundings became more important than the Goodboys tradition. Using the time to visit my folks (watching the first round of the British Open on Thursday mornings over coffee with my mom and dad is a precious memory), the Thursday night “Christmas Eve” tradition of the Green Meadow driving range and dinner with my closest GB friends, and then watching the Sox and the British Open with a few of the guys – or even with perfect strangers – at local establishments became more important than the tradition I was back there for. It’s not that the guys (at least the vast majority of them) were a problem, I had changed and the tradition just started getting a little old and stale for me. Simply put, it became more of an obligation than anything else, most especially given certain personality conflicts I just wasn’t willing to try and reconcile.

Not that my absence this year is a bad thing: traditions need to evolve with new people flowing in to give them renewed energy and a sense of purpose. I’m sure that if the guys want to continue the tradition going forward they’ll undoubtedly find a way to make it work and keep it working. I’m not closing the door on any future participation, mind you: no one knows what the future holds; but I’m now on the outside looking in, and I don’t feel bad about it. The Goodboys will go on fine without me, they deserve participants who will keep the positive energy going, and I’m just not able (or willing) to do that given the present state of things. It’s just not worth the emotional time and effort.

I suppose the question will be raised regarding the name of this website. To be truthful about it, I haven’t thought much of what (if anything) to do with it. It’s just a name, after all. For the foreseeable future things will remain as is – I’m not going anywhere. But if I decided to do something y’all will be the first to know!

To be honest, I’m feeling rather sentimental about the whole thing. I’ll miss my Goodboys friends, but, in the words of George Harrison, “all things must pass”. So with the guys gathering together tomorrow – and keeping with the spirit in which this post is written, I’ve chosen this gentle Jimmy Buffett ballad as my own personal message:

Just outside the harbor
All the ships asleep
Maybe one cold watchman
Walks a lonely beat
And way out on the water
A ship is under sail
Leaving wavy starlight
And a dreamer in her trail

I wave bye bye
I pray Godspeed
I wish you lovely weather
More luck than you’ll need
You’ll only sail in circles
So there’s no need to cry
Oh, I’ll see you again one day
And then I waved bye bye

A sailing ship reminds me
Of a certain girl
Who left a certain dreamer
To sail into her world
I’ve very friendly postcards
From very far away
But they just remind me
Of a certain day

When I waved bye bye
I prayed Godspeed
I wished you lovely weather
More luck than you’ll need
We only sail in circles
So there’s no need to cry
Yes, I’ll see you again one day
And then I’ll wave bye bye

My best wishes to the Goodboys for a fun and successful 30th anniversary weekend – I’ll be thinking of y’all while I’m staking shelves with pool chemicals and performing water tests. Enjoy that round on me, and may the best team win!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | 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.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:27 | Comments (0)
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 30, 2020

Unvarnished. And from the Washington Post, no less. But what do I know?

Look, I’m just communicating facts here. It’s not my fault others don’t want to face reality. You want reality? Here it is:

Do you want to feel safe?
Do you want a safe place to start and grow a business?
Do you want a safe place to start and raise a family?
Do you want to be surrounded by people who will treat you with respect and as an equal, regardless of your race, creed, color, gender, and religion?
Do you want to live a life where you won’t be punished for who you are and what you believe?
Do you believe in individual freedom and everything this country has fought, bled, and died for?
Move to a “red” state.

…speaking of which, how’s that “Summer of Love” thing workin’ out fer ya, Mayor Durkan? Not so funny when the mob comes after you, is it?

How can this be? Or this? Aren’t we all supposed to be dead by now, aren’t we? You can bet the “blue state” lock-down governors are the very ones who have been fearing this. And dollars to doughnuts it is the “red states” that are the ones getting most of the action. Sure, it’s only anecdotal, but every day at the pool supply store we have at least one, perhaps two folks coming in who have just moved to Arizona with their very first swimming pools. Coronavirus “surge” be damned, (and, BTW, there is no “surge” in hospitalizations or deaths, only cases), the housing market around here is as hot as blazes.

…which is why our pussy governor’s decision to re-close all bars, theaters, gyms, and water works is so stupid.

The announcement comes on the same day the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 625 new cases in the state Monday morning with no new deaths. However, AZDHS said one of their lab partners did not report their numbers to the department on time, but that the numbers would be reflected in Tuesday’s update.

Look, I might expect some caution if our death rates and hospitalizations were skyrocketing but they’re not. Ducey has become quite the pussy, revealing himself to be just another milquetoast McCain-style publicity seeker seeking to cull favor with the local media and the Never Trumpers. I should have figured that out when he picked Martha McSally – perhaps the least effective and productive U.S. Senator to replace John McCain. She’s going to get slaughtered by Democrat Mark Kelly in November, and, to be honest, she should – I can’t think of a less charismatic personality and elected official.

…it’s just a total sham. The fact is, the COVID-19 virus isn’t going anywhere soon, and I doubt that any effective vaccine is anywhere on the horizon. Think about it: we never closed our economies up during the Spanish Influenza and Hong Kong Flu epidemics, so why are we doing this now? Maybe it’s because we as a country have grown so snowflake soft and risk-averse that many are afraid to leave their houses during the day and sleep with their lights on at night. It’s that bad.

This whole mail-in voting push by Democrats is such bullcrap, designed to foster more vote fraud. If you can wear a mask and stand six feet apart like you do at a WalMart, Lowe’s or your local supermarket you can vote in person. The city simply hires temps to quickly wipe down the booth for the next voter and people will move in and out just fine. But that’s just more common sense that is seriously uncommon these days.

Don’t take a knee for anyone except the Lord Jesus Christ.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:54 | Comments (0)
June 28, 2020

Given the sentiments of the times, I just thought I’d post this quick link to (in my view) the greatest rock video of all time. (And, I would argue, along with “Hey Jude”, the greatest 45 RPM single of all time.)

Sure, they’re playing to a backing track – that’s fairly obvious – but I especially like when George tells Paul early on that “John’s microphone sounds like shit!” And I find the playful interplay of John’s and Paul’s expressions kind of interesting.

More than anything else, however, I think Lennon’s lyrics are just as poignant today as they were then: basically, he’s asking protesters and revolutionaries this: you want to change the current system? OK, what do you want to change it with? As we’ve seen with the CHAZ (or CHOP?) in Seattle, they haven’t got a clue beyond mindless Marxism bullshit, of which they haven’t a clue as to what they are talking about. You don’t believe me? Watch this pitiful display of ignorance between a shrieking, obviously disturbed BLM protester and someone who actually knows something about this nation’s history. She’s not just frightening, she’s an embarrassment to whatever cause she thinks she believes in. If the likes of her ever get into power, God help us all.

Seriously, never before in world history has a country ever had such an ignorant, uneducated so-called “elite” propped up by an equally ignorant and uneducated media. But this is what happens when leftism takes over your colleges and universities, I guess.

Anyways, it’s still a great video, illustrating just how talented and charismatic The Beatles were. There was never anything like them in rock music history, and the likes of them will never be seen again.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | 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)
June 22, 2020

Something just didn’t seem right.

I mean, here I am, The Great White Shank, in the Valley of the Sun – the East Valley, to be specific – deep in what northwest the mainstream and local media have been calling a “massive surge in Coronavirus cases” (some use “surge”, others say “spike”, others calling it the second wave, all pronounced with grave eyes and tone from masked faces). I’m driving on the 60 back to my house and pass a large billboard advertising the services of a large local medical center with a digital ER wait time prominently displayed.

The wait time displayed is 0. As in zero minutes. Z-E-R-O.

“Hey”, I says to myself, “that can’t be right. I mean, I’ve just heard an hour of the “Good Morning, Arizona” show chock-full of COVID-19 alarming reports and features about the “surge” (or was it “spike”?) in new cases. Heck, I’ll admit I ended up having to turn it off because even I was starting to feel a little spooked. I mean, I half expected to hear an announcement of the various locations around the Valley where folks could bring their dead to be stacked like cord wood for ritual burning:

“If your loved one is between the ages of 25-40, East Valley residents are encouraged to bring the corpses of loved ones to our new COVID-19 Death Reception Area (DRA) located at northwest corner of Pecos Road and the Loop 202 next to the Applebees. DRA hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Saturdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. The DRA will be closed on Sunday. Don’t forget to wear mask and gloves and follow safe distancing guidelines. Remember, we are all in this together.”

(After all, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in a massive, world-wide pandemic where the death rate is skyrocketing?)

So why, on this gorgeous Friday morning in June is there no wait time at the ER? I would expect it to be at least 20-25 minutes, right? After all, Arizona is inundated with new COVID-19 cases, right?

The next day I was visiting a local liquor store for a bottle of Mount Gay Eclipse (my go-to rum for mojitos, as it should be yours) and they had the television on to the local FOX station. It’s around 4:30 PM and the programming was all COVID, all the time. I mean, no wonder why folks are freaking out.

I refuse to freak out. I also refuse to wear a mask in public. The whole thing is a joke.

You know how I know? Because the media is only just now back to the breathless COVID-19 coverage – at least, of course, until some white cop kills another unarmed black male, thereby setting all the usual Democratic-run inner cities back to looting and burning. Then COVID-19 coverage will then take its rightful place on the “Media Fear Scale”.

Because that’s what this country has become in this year of abject lunacy. We are being driven like pinballs from one fear to another: fear of the virus, fear of being caught in a protest, fear of being looted, fear of cops, fear of statues, fear of offending the mob, fear that our elected and public health officials will resume putting COVID-19 cases back into our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, fear that Democratic mayors and governors will keep them locked down until the end of time or the November elections (whichever comes first).

It’s a joke, right? But it’s not. The media have done their absolute best to create the environment we now find ourselves in. And (at least in the case of Arizona and I’m guessing everywhere else), the hysteria being whipped up – both nationally and locally – is simply unjustified. In fact, were the media were actually doing their jobs they would actually be trying to tamper down the hysteria, since, as Peter Heck writes in The Resurgent, What’s Happening in Arizona and the Southwest is Actually Really Good COVID News. He writes in part:

Shameless is the only word I can think of to describe it, though I know there have to be better ones out there. After months of scaring the American public with a constant drumbeat of fear porn regarding COVID-19, the media found in the economic re-openings of various states a new boogeyman to focus on.

With a few exceptions, which were unsurprisingly ignored, the states most aggressive in loosening lockdown restrictions were Republican led. It was the perfect situation for a mainstream media desperate to renew the Republicans-bad, Democrats-good template before the November elections.

The fact that there would be a spike in new infections was a given. No one with a brain ever thought that “flattening the curve” would prevent future infections – the medical strategy was to prevent hospital resources from being overrun, which would have turned a bad situation into a medical catastrophe. But the media was geared up and more than ready to crank the panic-generator up to full strength, eagerly anticipating a spiked graph they could plaster on the evening newscasts.

“Arizona’s COVID-19 spread is ‘alarming’ and action is needed, experts warn,” read the title of an Arizona Republic article on Wednesday. Yahoo News breathlessly warned about a “spike” in all the southwestern states.

Headline-only readers, who represent the vast majority of those who consume media (and share it on social media), began feverishly sharing the news. Even some more conservative voices, trained to be skeptical of media narratives, fell for it. But the truth is available for those who dig even just a little bit below the surface.

* Due to the COVID pandemic in the spring, there is now a back-log of so-called “elective surgeries. Those people are now coming to hospitals, thus taking up many beds. Not COVID related.

* All patients who come to the hospital for any reason are tested for COVID. It is logical that some, or even many, may test positive for the virus even without symptoms. They automatically then get labeled a hospitalized COVID case even if that’s not what they are there for.

Last Wednesday, in the middle of the dangerous “spike” the media was frantic about, there was one new COVID hospitalization in Arizona. One. The media patently refuses to focus on COVID deaths – a number that would actually reveal if some dangerous “second wave” was coming to America. Instead they focus on a number they know will never go down – total cases reported – and a number they see as exploitable – total hospitalization.

The truth is that what is happening in Arizona and the Southwest is actually good news for us all. People who are coming to the hospital FOR coronavirus is drastically low, but the number of coronavirus-positive patients in the hospital is high. That means the virus is far more widespread, but is largely asymptomatic and less deadly than believed.

This tweet by my U.S. House rep Andy Biggs (one of the truly good ones!) illustrates the kind of work the mainstream media SHOULD be reporting, but won’t. He doesn’t downplay the existence nor progression of COVID-19 in the US, but he doesn’t breathlessly promote the kind of fear and hysteria the mainstream media is simply because some well-known actor or actress or professional athlete is tested positive (as if their testing positive warrants more hype than the fact that literally tens of thousands of elderly people were systematically condemned to death by New York governor Andrew Cuomo by forcing nursing homes and LTC facilities to accept COVID-19 patients). Wouldn’t you think that would, oh, I don’t know, provide some much-needed perspective on the nature of things?

But as Heck writes in closing, “Just don’t expect that truth to be gracing the evening newscast any time soon.”

…most especially since hyping the Coronavirus will help hide the fact that Democratic-led cities hell-bent on defunding the police are now seeing a spike (my terms) in black-on-black violence.

Who woulda thunk it?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 21:17 | Comments (0)
June 20, 2020

Word is that the long-term forecast says we could be seeing our first monsoony-related activity next weekend, but tonight in the Valley of the Sun it is a perfect evening. The air temp around 100, the pool temp around 90, and the Hemingway daiquiri temp probably around 40.

I attended my first Goodboys Zoom call yesterday and it was a lot of fun. Even though I won’t be attending this year it felt good to see everyone and know the crew appears to be doing quite well.

Not much else to write about for this weekend, except that I hope my Father’s Day card gets to my dad in time. He’s a great guy, is doing well for being 90, and it appears his senior living community has made it through the COVID-19 crisis quite well. Word is they expect to start taking some initial steps to the long road back to “normal”, and I wish them all the best.

See, it is exactly this kind of thing that is going to make presidential race polling impossible to do this year. Think about it: who wants to risk voicing their support for the President if, oh just say, a polling company “accidentally” released its list of phone numbers called and who has been identified as a Trump supporter. Could you imagine all the hate calls they’ll start getting? Could they then lose their job? Hell, yeah.

Headline: Alcoholic killer monkey leaves one man dead and 250 injured after going on rampage when his booze supply dried up. Me? I love the sub-heads:
* The monkey was formerly the pet of an occultist who fed him hard liquor in India
* But when his owner died, the booze-dependent imp went on the rampage
* Named Kalua, he targeted women and girls in particular with his vicious fangs
* He has now been captured and will spend the rest of his days in a cage at the zoo

…I’ve never been called a “booze-dependent imp” but I’m willing to give it a try…

I hope y’all have a great weekend. A happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Me? I’ll be doing my pool supply store thing and just veg out for a while. The golf clubs are in the deepest recesses of the garage; there’s no spark of desire to even have a look at them right now – I’m kinda thinkin’ that maybe next year I might take the game back up, but there’s equally a chance I won’t. I know now – most especially after the Zoom call with some of my Goodboys pals the other night – that there’s no sense of jealousy or wishing I could be there with them this year. That would mean I’d have to hit the range and get at least a couple of rounds in ahead of time and I’m just not in a mindset to do that right now. I’ll be more than happy to be there “in spirit” and wish them all “happy trails”.

Did y’all know today is the longest day of the year? I think we’ll celebrate the Summer Solstice by lighting up the fire pit and making a night of it. Curiously enough, here in Phoenix the mornings have already started to come earlier, even though the sunsets will continue to get later through the end of the month.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:37 | Comments (0)


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