Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Damn That Frackin* Groundhog

Okay, okay.  Yeah I live in Maine.  Vacationland.  The Pine Tree State.  Life in the Slow Lane.  Home to rugged wide hipped women, crusty lobstermen and manly lumberjacks sporting Paul Bunyan beards.  The state color is hunter orange.  The state hat, any chapeau with a John Deere or Patriots logo on it.

I should be used to harsh winter conditions.  And I am, but at some point every winter even the hardest of the hardcore local yokel gets fed up with the cold.  It gets old to try to look over or around snow banks taller than the flashing yellow light on a'53 Chevy plow truck.  And don't even start a conversation about the idiots who won't clean their car roofs off before they head out to the Maine Mall.  At some point every Mainer is ready to lose those red long johns and wear their short sleeves again.

For the most part Mainers seem to welcome the first couple of snows in late Fall.   A  December and January with decent snow cover is expected.  But come January Thaw and the temps jump into the 40s, we expect the climate to start calming down, down shifting into Mud Season.   A few last gasps of the white crap is okay in Feburary and even March.

We like our winter spread out evenly if possible.  When the storms stack up one right after the other and it gets harder to look out the windows,  even the gnarliest native can develop a nervous tic under one eye when they hear Kevin Mannix on Channel 6 utter the word "snow".  Yeah, Mainers can get grumpy when it seems the snow will never end.

Here in Acton, I suppose we are around 70 inches so far this season.  Not a record breaker, but it came down in 6" to 12" increments.  Seems like the last month, I've been either preparing to blow snow, blowing snow, or I just finished blowing snow.

I feel the grumps sneaking up on me.  Another 8" is on the ground and it's still coming down at better than a 2" per hour clip.  I blew out the ends of the drive so tomorrow's clean up would be less stressful for the blower.  I noticed the town plows had not been by recently.  Sure sign even the snow plow guys are getting tired.  Snow budgets are almost gone, no snow days left,  and the salt barn is close to empty.

And guess what?  More snow in the forecast.  Just Excellent.....
..... Damn that frackin* ground hog.

Later...................................
_____________________________________

* A tip of my hat to a SciFi series I came to really enjoy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Angry Internet Persona

After such a long absence and an even longer neglect of the nuts and bolts of my blog, e.g, listed blog rolls, websites, etc., I decided to purge the ones abandoned by their previous owners, sift out the sites that had been closed. locked up and key tossed.  It was time to clean up my act.  Not a complete make over, but at least sweep the floor and dust the shelves.
I started with my main page and the various sites and blogs I have listed for you my audience.  Truth be told, I know I use them more than anyone else.  It is easier than finding them in my cluttered blog file in the bookmarks section buried deep in the gulliwots of my 'puter.

I deleted some, but found it hard to lose some also.  "They might post again", I thought.  "I always enjoyed reading his/her thoughts."  So I left many on the page alone like a lover leaving the back door open hoping the light of their life returns.  Hmm... Well I did not actually look at it that way when I did it.  I just thought of it that way now and felt the need to draw the example that had briefly rested for a moment, long enough to remember it had been by.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

5:00 AM

It is Five O'clock in the A.M.  Been up now I guess a couple of hours.  Never suffered insomnia much until about ten years ago.  Drove me crazy at first.  Lose sleep three or four nights in a row, and that next day can become some kind of surreal trip through Reality.  Like Tripping without the good rushes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

55 Words - The Fisher

Saw a Fisher nosing around my dooryard yesterday.
Not a large one, maybe a female or young male.
Looked healthy, it's beautiful coat puffed up against the cold.
Obviously on familiar ground, it checked the woodpile, the shed, the perimeter of the house.
I wondered why I had not seen one in over a decade.

______________________________
I wrote this to participate in a flash writing hoe-down that happens every Friday over to Mr. KnowItAll.  It's called Friday Flash 55.  Most of the entries seem to be of the verse type.  I like sentences, so I used 5 of them.  I like Flash writing.  It is tougher than it looks.

The image was taken by Daniel J Cox.  I hope he does not mind me borrowing it, poaching it, using it.  I would offer a link, but when I punched the image on google, I was sent to Daily Kos.  Odd that a Fisher image would be linked to a commie web site.  But there it is.

Some Fisher facts.
Though not big, these guys are bad ass.  They are omnivores and will eat just about anything.  They are one of the few predators that can take out porcupines unscathed.  They spend most of their time on the ground, but climbing trees is a cinch.  They are fast enough and agile enough to chase down squirrels up there in the canopy.  Do not mess with one.  Steer clear.

Later.................................................................

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Non-Profit

My friend Prester John over to "Goober Joes" taught me something yesterday.  The NFL, that is the National Football League, is considered a non- profit organization by the IRS.  That means they pay no taxes on the huge profits they make every year.

Let that sink in a moment.......................................................

The league's fingers are in enough pies, they bring in over $9 billion dollars per year.  Of that $9 Billion, $180 million goes to the league offices directly.  The rest is dispersed among the 32 teams and they do pay taxes on that.  But, $180 million tax free?  The head honcho puts $29 million a year in his pocket.

Now let that sink in for another moment.............................

Two Senators, one a Republican and one an Independent from my state have proposed a bill to end the NFL's tax free status.

Two things are happening here.  First and foremost, a small bit of bipartisanship is poking up above the bitter partisan landscape.  And second, tax free status as an abused loophole is shoved into the light of day.

Of course, being some kind of sacred cow, I am guessing the NFL will emerge unscathed.

Later...........................................

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lost Common Ground

I promised myself I would not dip my toes into the political opinion arena anymore.  All it ever got me was increased blood pressure and an uncomfortable tightening of the sphincter in my ass.  That is one major reason I stopped blogging for so long.  But we are who we are and to deny to ourselves who we are can have similar negative effects.

I have been back online now for about a month I guess.  I have fallen back into old routines.  I try to write every day now.  I visit old friends' blogs and attempt to visit new ones.  Unfortunately like before, I am drawn to blogs with balls.  That is, blogs that have opinions with no apologies.  I do not have to agree, but I do respect folks who are not wishy-washy.

Since I have been back and touring the poli-opinion landscape as seen from both the Right and the Left, I have been impressed by how much more divided the two are now than they were even a year ago.  It seems the chasm has grown so wide, the two will never come together.  It has gotten to the point when one proposes something, the other does not even look at it, they just oppose it because it was born on the wrong side of the fence.  I have gotten on board myself with my total disgust with the Right.

Finding common ground on anything seems impossible.  Yet, that is exactly what we have to do.  Bury the big differences for awhile and attend to areas where agreement is possible.  I am afraid though we aren't quite ready yet.

It will come.  It always does.  Our country has been like this many times in the past and we worked through it.  Life is a cycle, so is the world politic.

Keep it 'tween the ditches..............................................

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Not sure what jogged my memory onto the idea of integrity, honesty and my days at military school in the 1960s.  Something did and who the Hell cares what it was............Of course it will drive me slightly bonkers if I don't remember what set this up.

I cannot speak to the rules and regs that ran other military schools.  I assume most if not all had an honor code.  Break any one of the high ideals set forth in said honor code and there would be consequences.

The problem with Honor Codes, at least in my case, is that once accused, there was no recourse, reprieve, retrial.  I felt I had been found guilty without even the chance to speak for myself.  It happened my junior year and it was not until the day before I graduated over a year later that I found vindication.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Doo Wop Cops

I had every intention of  writing a post about my favorite new music group, the Russian Police Choir.  Their rendition of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" at the opening Olympic ceremonies in Sochi was hilarious.  I was going to pass on the YouTube video.  Of course, my plan was ruined by corporate greed.  EMI Music has blocked the video based on "copyright" concerns.

A year or two ago, this would have been enough to set me off on a 1000 word tirade about the over the top greed of American business and the assholes who run the companies.   The tirade would have gotten off message quickly and then the post would be all about how the Right is ruining our country.

Now that I have relocated my center again, I just stepped away from the 'puter, poured another cup of coffee, and took some deep breaths while repeating Mr. Natural's good advice, "Keep your sunny side up".

It is easier to let things make me mad than to let them go.  I am not sure when this became part of my persona.  I am guessing it is one more sign that I am getting older.  I suffer fools and dickwads  with less tolerance than I used to.  I have to constantly remind myself that I do not have to suffer them as long as I ignore them.

So EMI, you go ahead and protect your corporate profits by blocking a YouTube video of a cop choir singing one of the songs you consider yours.  I don't even like the song.  Just more Pop Music garbage.

Later..........................................

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Pandora's Box

"Be careful what you wish for."..........."Nothing is as simple as it seems"............."Snowball out of control" ........"Ignorance is Bliss", and last but not least, "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

All of these slogans, sayings, warnings have at different times floated through my brain over the last couple of days.

Okay, so after a decade or two of walking around the failing infrastructure of my 60 year old home, I found home repair ambition again.  If it's a wood problem or outside leaking in problem, I actually have the skill set to fix it.  Or at least understand instructions I might find while researching the problem.  I did pound nails for a living there for awhile.  Electrical, well, don't have paid experience, but I am not afraid of electricity.  I respect it.  Once you have reduced it to the basics, it is fairly straight forward.

And so far since I caught the fixer upper bug, everything I have done in the last six months has yielded positive results for the house.  No quick fixes.  Everything I did I did with the notion that this is the last time I will have to deal with that.

The one classic home owner problem I still try to avoid is the plumbing.  I have done what I had to to keep it functional, but every time I messed with it, it became a much bigger patch job than I had bargained for.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Guess What It Is - Answered

I really don't have anything of even interest to me to share with you.  I just needed an excuse to share this Kodak moment I captured forever in digital mode.  The original has more going on.  I cropped and enlarged it.

Can anyone guess what it is?

Hmm......................................................
_________________________________________

Friday - 2/7 - Answer

No, it is not unicorn ejaculate.  Nor is it a growth.  But those are water drops just after an early evening sprinkling.  I suppose they could be unicorn piss drops.  I am only assuming it was rain.


It is a Peony the night before the blossom opened.

Later.................................................

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Winter Storm Alert

We are now early into the next winter storm in line that has dumped snow starting 2000 miles ago out Nebrasca-homa  west of here where the flakes go horizontal in a heart beat.  We are in the band marked down on the Channel 6 weather map for 11" to 14" of the white shit.  North of us Downeast Maine and Up Country will see less.  Of course the mountains that need the snow to keep all the crazed skiers happy will not be getting their fair share.

From the looks of things out there and all things being equal, I am happy I don't have to be out in it today.  Seems to be about an inch and hour.  The plows are keeping up so far, but we are just getting started.

Gotta love Winter in Maine.

Stay warm....................................................

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Death By Overdose

Death by overdose is always sad.  When a gifted artist dies of drug overdose or from stupidity related to substance abuse, that death seems to cut a deeper and wider swath than say the death of some junkie found in an alley with a needle in his arm.  I am of the mind that neither rates more or less grief than the other.  The user knew the risks and continued to poison themselves for whatever reason.

I just re-read the first paragraph and realized that it reads harsh and maybe a tad cold.  I thought about trying to tip toe my way into this post about drug addiction, and realized that Reality suits my mood better than hand wringing platitudes.  Drug and alcohol abuse are ugly realities of the human existence.

Monday, February 03, 2014

What Can Be More American Than America?

I like Bob Dylan.  Always have.  Liked him best before he went electric.  But then I was still hard into my folk singing phase - Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, P-P & M, and of course that young and luscious Joan Baez.  I only thought Bob was a sellout when he picked up that electric guitar because well, I was a young teen and prone to allow the older and more hip  form my musical opinion.  I got over the electric thing and enjoyed his time with amps and his back up group, "The Band".  Some great music happened.

But Bob ain't no car salesman.

The commercial for Chrysler products during the Super Bowl opened with Bob's voice.  "What can be more American than America?"

What the Hell?  Did he write that or allow his name and voice to be forever attached to about the dumbest come on ever conjured up in the think tanks of the Ad industry?

Regardless, I just cannot even consider searching for a reasonable response to this idiocy.  Why not ask, "What could be colder and blacker than Ann Coulter's heart?" ...or maybe ...  'What could be dumber than a Fox Newscaster?"

The answer of course to all is Nothing.  What a bunch of morons.  But then America does love being treated like idiots.  So maybe the hucksters know their audience better than I do.

Later.........................................

Sunday, February 02, 2014

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

Had I bothered to check, I am sure my decision to once again visit and interact in the blogosphere would have gone against the better judgement of someone out there in the Internet ether.  I know I cannot count on my own better judgement as it it has been MIA since the day in 1969 when Snake and I dropped 3 Orange Barrels each and didn't step back into Reality for the next 48 hours.

Regardless, I did wander back.  Life out here in WWW hasn't changed much.  More gadgets maybe, but the mentality is about the same.  Nice people, angry people and clueless people all interacting under aliases so that no one knows what is really going on behind those blue eyes.  Sorta like the real world but with less civility.  As my mom used to say, "There is nothing new under the Sun".

No Mom, there is not.  Not even the Internet.

Later....................................

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Turn to Cook

My lovely significant other darlin light of my life called me at the bike shop late yesterday afternoon.  For some reason she called my cell phone.  For some unknown reason I actually had the damn thing in my possession.  Stars aligned and all the pieces and extraneous bullshit floating around the Universe settled into their proper nooks and crannies.  Once or maybe twice a lifetime this happens.

I was informed it was my turn to cook.   Damn.  Keith and I were going to enjoy some cooling refreshments before I headed home.  Oh well.  When it's my turn, its my turn.

I treat my turn to cook with the seriousness and focus it deserves.  After all, we need to eat to make it from one day to the next.  Because I only have a vague recollection of where the cooking utensils hide when not in use, I subcontract my cooking duties to folks more capable and ready with the culinary magic.  Why do it myself with all these experts around?

That's the problem.  Too many experts.  Who do I choose?  Fast food, Chinese, seafood, or that always works go to gastronomical delight, Pizza?

Well that was easy.  Willy's Ale Room was right on the way home.  They did a good job with pizza.  And if I had a two beer wait instead of the usual one beer wait, I was only 1.1 miles from my dooryard.  Hard to get in trouble in 1.1 miles.

The image has nothing to do with this post.  I ran into this fella/gal while finishing up the main panel corner.   Just thought I'd share.

Later...........................................

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Flash Society

Ten Minutes.  That is all I am allowing myself this AM.

Doesn't seem like enough time to even get started, let alone form a complete thought or voice a coherent opinion.  But then we live in the new "Flash Society".  Our culture has sped up.  Everyone wants their emotional, humorous, and informative fix in six seconds or less.  Keeping the attention of our new ADHD society for longer than a few moments, you better have some awesome special special effects to keep them in their seats.

Flash fiction.  Six second videos. And no longer do we have the time or the inclination to even open a book.  Turning those pages takes up precious seconds better used texting all our BFF's to make sure no one misses the opening of that brand new transformer v. beast from the sea showdown on the 3D Imax screen down to Cinema 24.

You fools go ahead and be in a hurry.  I'll sit back and watch the paint dry for you.

Later.............................

Monday, January 27, 2014

Well, I Am Not French


I vaguely remember not so long ago in my recent past, I promised myself and thus it could be assumed I also promised anyone out there who cares I was going to try to write every day.  Now, I never intended to indicate I would try to write in my blog every day, just that I would write every day.
...........Hmm

.
Well, seems I already blew this very first New Year's Resolution I ever made.  I did not write every day or for that matter I did not write any day since last we touched base

I got wrapped up taking on a new homeowner project.  CR, the all things electrical Wiz and longtime friend decided sooner was better than later to install my new main panel.  He had suggested it while helping me patch up the old wiring system I had.  Being a no bullshit kinda guy, his suggestions were brutally frank.  "Why fix this when you need to start with a new main panel.  What are you?  French?"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wired

Electricity.  That awesome mysterious force that magically makes my house a home and not some backwoods camp in Maine.  We could and have existed without it on a few occasions.  We can burn wood for heat and there is a dug well next to the kitchen with a hand pump.

But I like my electricity.  It pumps our water, lights up our house, washes our dishes, and keeps the beer cold.  Life without it would be doable, but not as much fun as it is with it.  As important as it is, you would think I would have upgraded the whole system 25 years ago when I had more ambition and was still skinny enough to crawl around in the crawl spaces and attics.  And because I only patched it up when something went wrong, I  now have no choice in the matter.  Make do won't do.  It is time to go after it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Just Another Day on the Planet

I gave up paying much attention to the news.  I lose perspective and calm when I focus on the events unfolding outside my small corner of the World.  I am sure the planet is inhabited by mad men and crazy women.  Now i pick and choose what I allow to grab my attention.  If it's a stupid issue, person, event that the news jocks are trying to get my bowels in an uproar over, I figure it is not worth my time.

Consider..................

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ObamaCare

There was nothing but doom and gloom, dire predictions of meltdowns, flare ups, fantastic conflagrations, and maybe even the end of the World as we knew it.  Some may not have said so, but that is what they were thinking.  The world would blow up if Obama Care continued one minute longer.

Political big mouths and their mindless drooling lock step minions raised their voices, hiked their blood pressure and tightened up their sphincters hoping to bring us along on their partisan nightmare ride....................Why?