Monday, December 31, 2007

Home

This "official" map of Maine, most likely created by some tight ass bureaucrat up to Augusta, attempts to make sense of the geographic differences that exist in my home state. All I can say is this map is a lie. For our purposes here in the panhandle, there are but 4 regions of Maine.

The Other side of the Turnpike - Where all the folks with deep pockets live and dress like lobsta men and truck mechanics when down to the local store, but quickly swap out their Dickies for a sweater tied around their necks when heading to Boston.

Up Country - Anywhere in Maine not on the East side of the Turnpike and North of here. Which is really everywhere with the exception of those hoity toity folks who cling to the edge of the Ocean.

Right Here - Where a man's yard is judged by how many pickups, tractors, and manure spreadas he has rusting in his door yard. And if he has them all tucked under blue tarps, we know this man is not the one wearing the pants in that house.

The County - Aroostook County is a special place with special people. Thus it is graced with it's own special place in all Mainer's hearts. You either came from the county,went there once, knew someone who went there, or accidentally found yourself there while trying to find Jackman or Eustis.

Okay, Okay. Let's step back a few steps. Seems we have gotten ahead of ourselves here.

The subject of this post was originally not about the regions of my home state. I had originally wanted to find some new blogs to read. And instead of the usual hit or miss, referral from another blog I might visit on occaision or typing in a word in that handy Google blank, I figured I would check out some of the blogs created and maintained by Mainers. Folks who live close by or far away but in the same state of confusion I live in.

What I did was this. I went to my profile. Found that all the blue words would guide me to blogs with that word in common. Boy, those computer folk are some clever. No wonder they are rich and I am not.

Anyway, punch the Maine key word and 9000 plus blogs popped up. Whew! Way too many to sift through. Had to come up with some criteria for checking them out.

No religious fanatics. No pre-teen "do u text and isn't Billy Wilkerson cute" blogs. Forget the runners. I don't run. Don't want to read about them or their sneakers. A picture and some words about interests would punch em to the top of my list.

Okay. Cool. I had some parameters in place. So I spent the better part of a couple of hours cruising my home state via the local blogosphere. Must have filtered through the quick profiles of 500 blogs and actually read something on 30 or so.

The initial choices I found to create my Maine Blog Link List often were only because I liked the name of the blog. Or the location. Damn. Now that I think about it, there is no rhyme, no reason for the choices you will find to the right.

But I will say that in less than 2 hours I managed compilate quite an odd group. I have a gay. I have at least a couple of Liberals. There's a mostly happy homemaker and her life as mom. Some gnarly dude band/design your group's logo in our spare time guys.

I have to say my most delightful find was the Defiant Infidel. A man who contends he is now trapped in his home state surrounded by the great Liberal conspiracy that moved here from away. Seems this lone outdoorsman lives in the woods with his wife and 2 dogs. Loves God, country, and Fred Thompson. Feels the right to bear arms is sacred and wishes liberalism was illegal. Well I made up that last part. But I figure he wouldn't complain much it there was a law passed.

This fellow Mainer is positive our "traditional values" have been shot down and he is on a quest to re-aquaint all who will listen just what we are missing out on. I dunno. Seems to me Americans have been less than loyal to any tradtion for long. Right out of the gate we bucked the system. Whatever the system was. "Traditional Values" are often nothing more than fantasy worlds built up in the minds of folks who would like to return us to an idyllic world of the past that never existed in the first place.

If you visit only one blog from my list, visit his. Some of you will nod your head, look reflective and maybe agree with him. If you are like me, you will turn to his blog for a little comic relief. And I am hardly a liberal. Well, I probably am according to the infidel's criteria for identifying anything not conservative must be liberal mindset rule in the Neocon field guide for the identification and cataloging of Liberal conspiracies that pervade our landscape. The man has the flag tightly wrapped around his principles.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Witnessing Excellence

I was not going to sit down tonight and share my thoughts about the last Pat's regular season game. No matter how it turned out. I was going to just sit in the glow of victory or wallow in the depths of defeat. Do it privately and without an audience.

Well, I couldn't do it.

Just like I couldn't park my butt on the couch and watch the game like a sane and sober man in his own home might who is not in the company of his beer swillin buds after two 30 packs before kickoff. I performed straight and without the support of intoxicating substances. Maybe a beer or two would have taken the edge off. Oh well.

It was trouble right out of the gate. Forget saving something for the playoffs, the Giants wanted to stop the Patriots. Ruin their pursuit of that perfect season. They let it all hang out. Gave the Patriots all they could handle. And in the process I was sure they would give me a coronary. Eli Manning and his Giants brought their A game to the party. They came right out and tallied a touchdown on their first possesion. Damn, another team ready to rumble.

Nervously I paced around the living room groaning and screaming at the TV set like they could hear me. And the whole time my daughter is parked in the over stuffed wingback with her stuffed Pat bear she named Wes calmly taking the the game in. My wife had long ago become disgusted with my antics and left to watch the game in peace up in the bedroom. I became one of those crazed wild eyed fans who should have been painted up and barechested with some cartoon helmet made of paper mache on my head. I paced, muttered and pleaded for the Pats to get their shit together. It was a sad display of a fan gone mad.

That is my perception anyway. Now that the adrenalin has finally been purged and my guts have begun to unwind, I realize that with the exception of all the cat in a cage pacing back and forth, I was relatively docile on the outside. Definitely not on the inside.

It was another nail biter. 12 points down in the 3rd quarter, the boys put the hammer to the Giants. 22 unanswered points later they sat with an uncomfortable lead of only 10 points with just shy of 4 minutes still waiting to tick away. And of course the Giants finally pulled it together and scored a touchdown in the last 2 minutes. Thankfully Eli seemed to have trouble with his 2 minute offense. Clock management was an issue. The desperation onside kick failed when Vrabel fell on the ball. The Pats only had to drop a knee 3 times and the first unbeaten NFL season in 35 years was now history.
All the Sports guys in expensive suits fell all over themselves talking up Brady, Moss and the 16-0 season. And I am sure in the scheme of what really counts for the record books, what Moss and Brady did was cool. I am also duly impressed.

But once again, the guys I probably enjoy the most are the guys who get it done when it has to get done. The players who get the ugly yards, the connections that take the ball from one end of the field to the other. I'm talkin bout my favorite small guys, Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. They do their thing in the shadow of GQ Brady and the grace of Moss. But they do their thing so very well. 122 plus passing yards in 11 catches for Welker. Two "have to have it" 3rd down conversions fought for and won by Faulk. When blocking was needed, they both stepped up and carried more than their weight.

I marvel at these ordinary looking puny Davids who excel in a sport dominated by Goliaths. They take hits that would cripple most people. Get right up and do it again. Absolutely awesome.

Way to go Pats. Keep on keepin on. 16 and a big 0. Ain't too shabby. 3 more games to go.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Reason to be Grateful


In an effort to broaden my horizons beyond the snow encrusted dooryard outside my window this AM, I visited several bookmarked blogs I have found interesting in the past. Dutifully, I read political commentary, perused recent photo shoots of neighborhoods, identified with pieces decrying the annual end of the year blues, and one piece on the sad state of public places in Rome.

Pretty much a typical jaunt through Blog land. Same old same old. After commenting on a few, I found my time unfufilled. My voyeuristic tendency was satisfied, but my need to spout off my mouth remained frustrated and was still jones-ing. So here I am.

The end of 2007 is right around the corner. Another year chalked up and accounted for. I sit here wondering just where the time went. What about this past year sticks out? Historical events unfolded everyday as they usually do. And billions of people went about their business unmindful of those events as they usually do. Yet in each individual's existence, occurences that would barely cause a ripple of interest to the rest of us stand out as events of major import and changed lives in dramatic ways.

Divorces, deaths, births, and winning lottery tickets happen without the limelight of public scrutiny. Yet these events are the ones that actually shape our lives. Small ordinary events that are anything but to those of us who experience them.

So I sit here taking note that not even the small events visited me this year. My daughter continued her grad program without major problems. My wife's business continued to chug along at it's busy pace. My bike shop logged another year of mediocre performance and I grew and cut my beard a couple of more times. I gained weight, lost it, and re-gained it again. My chronic liver problem popped up again and is now back in the shadows again waiting to pop up again.

Was it basically a year best forgotten and cataloged as SSDD? No. Actually I would have to say it was a great year. I managed to hike my way through it and look to come out on the other side one more time. And that is always a reason to be grateful.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Insominiacs Rule While Others Peacefully Drool


On 4 hours of sleep I awoke jazzed and pumped. Physically exhausted with a mind that could not rachet it back to the slower metabolic rate my body really wanted, needed, probably should have.

Damn I hate this. Used to anyway. Lack of sleep used to bother me tremendously. I would anquish over lost snooze time and then like a dog worrying a bone lay around with eyes wide open staring into the dark. A few years of that and I decided, "What the Hell, get up fool, do something. Don't fight it. Go with the flow."

Okay so now what? The rest of my time zone compadres are fast asleep drooling and dreaming rock hard dreams of Dallas cheerleaders and whipped cream. Me, well, I must have other things to do. Maybe a few more hours of the Food channel will jog my memory of things needing my attention. Or it will bore me to sleep. Either way works. Just hope it doesn't end up being time wasted with remote in hand, my eyes out of focus as I struggle to follow Chef Dave as he proves to me there is indeed another way to serve scallops. That squirt of green goo and a fancy sliced carrot really tops it off. Nice touch there Chef Dave. You are the man.

On recent trips through no sleep land, I have taken to domestic drudgery to calm my frantically paced mental state. Mindless chores that make little noise but will offer pleasant suprises to my signifigant other. So far no comment from her on this. But I know she has noticed. She misses nothing.

I have on occaision torn into some major project or continued one in process. I will push myself until I begin staggering and can't keep my eyes focused on the same line. I will circumnavigate myself past sanity into some semi dream state so that when I do wake up, I find my efforts ran counter to what had been originally planned. But often it works out. Bout half the time anyway.

So here I sit awake but not aware. I flip through 400 cable channels hoping to find some inspiration. I pick up a book I know will normally cause my eyes to automatically shut down. Instead all I do is whine to myself how much that book sucks and my mind will not let go. Oh well, sleep is way over rated. Let's check out the Discovery Channel. Maybe they have some monkeys humping or Rhinos in brutish embrace.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wrong Side of the Door

Every winter in Maine has the same feel. Shorter days, colder temperatures, and pre-cip usually in solid form. The Sun cruises daily just above my southern horizon. Barely makes it over the big spruces across the road. Yes, general predictablity exists. Yet every winter in Maine fills up with quirks and odd sequences that make each one unique. The Winter of 07-08 seems headed in the same direction.

Just when oil prices spike and it takes $400 to fill my oil tank, Ma Nature decides to make sure we burn it like it was free. And so far, she is insisting on seeing my snowblower in action twice as much as this time last year. Last year's total snow fall was officially recorded to be 68.5" in 14 different snow events. Last year we got off easy. So far right now we have had at least 30" in 3 major storms. We seem headed for our more normal 90+inches.

So I sit in the office snug and almost warm. Another storm is busy outside. The smarter cats have figured out that this is a day to hunker down in a basket, a box, or on any uncovered pillow available. They know intuitively this day is one to ignore.

However. In every community, home, group larger than two, there are members who are sure the grass is still green outside. With memories shorter than they are, they insist on being reminded that the wrong side of the door is out there and not in here. I am always amused by their complete suprise and astonishment when they discover that outside is the same as it was an hour ago.

Bob and Stub are my two independent and restless souls. They refuse to believe in Winter. They need constant reinforcement that yeah, it's still cold out there. Their biological winter clocks tied to some 2 hour cycle. Bob will wind his way in and out of my legs. When he has my attention he heads for the door and I am sure he is muttering, "Dude, let me remind you where the front door is".

He then parks in front of it. Looks at it. Looks at me. Then looks at it again. Casting that disgusted look only a cat can conjure up he scowls at me, "Dude, come on, let me out".

"Little Buddy, You just went out an hour ago. Give it up".

Some more pitiful cat whining and then Stub will scramble over wagging her nub of a tail, "Yeah, let us out Man. I can't remember whether I need to pee or not. Be safe guy. Let us out."

I let them out. 5 minutes later I look outside. There they are parked in the front walk barely 10 feet into it. Both looking back at the door knowing they are still on the wrong side of it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ismail Gulgee - R.I.P.



Long ago in a time just barely remembered, I packed up a picture for a customer painted by this man. The house was full of many pieces of art and obviously expensive tastes. I was moving this high end family from a posh district of Baltimore to Shaker Heights in the Cleveland area. Dad, a retiring big steel exec, wanted to re-settle back to his childhood homestead. The one with 4 fireplaces and a 5 car garage.

They had a Picasso drawing. They had some beautiful sculptures I had to get creative with so they would travel well. But of all the art pieces I packed and loaded, the painting by this man, Ismail Gulgee, stuck with me. I saved it until last so I could look at it until that final moment when it was placed carefully wrapped into a mirror carton. Mrs. big steel exec even commented about my holding it out. I am sure my interest in it caught her by suprise. A long haired 20 something hippy dude wearing an Atlas Van Lines uniform enthralled by a painting by someone he never heard of. I bet she figured me for velvet Elvis paintings or Paisley acid prints.

I do not remember exactly the subject. Just that it was a portrait and it caught my fancy. This artist had talent. Whoever the Hell he was.

Anyway, Ismail was murdered a short time ago in Pakistan. Along with his wife and maid, apparently they were strangled and left to be discovered by Ismail's son.Ishmail was 81. And though he may not have been cheated of years, his senseless murder becomes one more footnote to add to the mountain of senseless tragic footnotes piling up in Pakistan at the moment. Forgive me if I hope that his death was the result of one of the mundane reasons for murder. Robbery, crime of passion. I hope that the theocratic stupidity that has much of that country in it's grip right now was not the driving force behind this murder.

Back in the early 1970s when I first saw his work, I had no idea who he was, where he came from, or that he would eventually become Pakistan's best known artist. Nor did I care. I only found out through his death the pertinent facts that made him what he was to so many in Pakistan. His ability to weather the tumultuous and often chaotic events that formed modern day Pakistan points to his popularity with all Pakistanis. The man was revered. And now he is dead. What a shame.

Below please enjoy a few photos of some of his life's work.



These images come courtesy of this site

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Heroes or Not

I was reading some of the retrospectives of the recently deceased on the MSNBC site and Paul Tibbets popped up again.

Paul flew the B-29 named Enola Gay that dropped the first of only two Atomic Bombs ever dropped in anger. He is held up as a hero by many and reviled as an arm of evil by many others.

Paul considered his mission as neither. Not heoric nor evil. It was his job. And he did it well. He was considered the best pilot in the Army Air Force during WWll.

My father knew Paul. My father was ahead of him in the hiearchy back in the day and ended up in more of a supervisory role during the war. But he did know him. He never said much about Paul other than he was a helluva pilot. But then my dad did not discuss much about the specifics of his time in the Air Force.

The point I guess is we Americans often bestow hero status on people without a clue as to what a real hero is. Paul's efforts were no more heroic than the thousands of other pilots who dared to fly into hostile airspace in any war. Yet because of one specific mission, he is placed higher in our history of heroes than many other possibly more deserving men.

That is not to say Paul did not perform heroic acts. I am sure he did. Just climbing in a plane he knew had a better than even chance of getting shot down took some nads. But larges nads, a hero does not make.

A hero to me is someone who steps out of character, digs deep and rises to an occaision that they would not normally be able to deal with. Being a bad swimmer, yet jumping in to save a drowning man. Being scared out of their wits, yet finding the strength to overcome their fear and do something beyond their comprehension. By the time Paul hit the sky over Japan, it was just another day in the life. If Paul was the man I think he was, that's how he saw it also.

Nor does Paul deserve to be demonized either. He followed his orders. The bomb was going to be dropped whether he flew the mission or not. Paul just made sure it hit it's target.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Blue Magic

Handymen from all over the country just love cheap fixes and jury rigged solutions. The one material that exists in every homeowner's first line of emergency fixes tool kit is a decent sized roll of good quality duct tape. Nothing comes close to it as the magical fix for millions of fix it now problems. Books have been written about Duct Tape and the magic performed with it.

But I did not come here to talk about Duct Tape. We Mainers know it's worth. Any one of us with half a brain is going to have 3 or 4 rolls of it kickin around handy and ready at a moment's notice.

No, today I want to pay homage to that magnificent, stupendous, and all around yard gussying up king--- The Blue Tarp.

Nothing gets Mother off your ass quicker than a 20x20 blue tarp from Marden's tossed over that '82 Chevy pick up with the broken plow. She might know it is still there, but you can at least meet her half way by not making her look at it.

The Blue Tarp is so sacred in this state, and often so rare to come by, when Marden's gets em in, they don't last the day sometimes. It's okay to purchase one from Home Depot or Lowes in an emergency, but if it came from Mardens, it's the real Maine Blue Tarp.

Yeah, some folks insist they all come out of the same 5 or 6 blue tarp plants in Singapore or East Gish China. And that may be. But until it has passed through the hands of the caring folks at Mardens, it is not the official unofficial Maine Blue Tarp.

In a world that seems lost in a quest to find a high tech answer for every problem, Mainers always seem to rely on tried and true low tech solutions first. Why build a barn to hold all six 427 Chevy engine blocks when all you have to do is cover em up with a $5 blue tarp. That Massey Ferguson tractor Father used for 40 years is in tractor heaven under the protective blue cover. It is the sign of real loyalty and care when a blue tarp is dragged over some rusting item or gizmo in the dooryard. Whenever I pass a property liberally sprinkled with blue covered lumps, I know that the owner has some special treasure they wanted to make sure has the protection it needs.

Even the critters of Maine have fallen under the spell of the blue tarp. As you can see, some enterprising local fowl found the fibers of the about to be discarded blue tarp in the back a very handy and convenient source of bombproof fibers for their nest.

Tim Sample , a Maine comedian is positive that the reason Osama Bin Laden has thus far successfully eluded capture is he is currently secreted away under a blue tarp up country somewhere near Augusta or Bangor. I don't know about that, but I do know it is very easy to walk around a pile with a blue tarp on it than walk around one that has not been so honored.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pain in the Neck

That damn knot is back. Right where it was 3 weeks ago when I woke up one morning. Right shoulder just below my neck. Pills dull the discomfort, but do nothing to refurbish my lost flexibility. Looking to the right involves a complete body move. As if my head is fused to my shoulders. Damn, this sucks.

Whine. Piss n moan. Complain.

It is so easy to do when my 55 year old body is doing it's own complaining. Never being one to suffer in silence, I figure it is just being friendly to share my pain. I mean, I am the center of the Universe afterall.

Like folks really care about some knot I have in my neck. They probably react like I do when someone else brings up their own mostly minor physical complaints. "Jeez dude, that sucks". And then think, "Better you than me", or "Stop your whining fer chrisakes".

But then I made the mistake of picking the Red Hot Chili Peppers Cd "Blood-Sugar-Sex-Majik" to burn into my puter's memory banks. I forgot I have never been able to resist rocking out when "If You Have to Ask" comes within earshot. I hear that tune and my body goes on automatic. It moves whether I want it to or not.

So here I sit trying to sway gently without irritating the uninvited knot. It is not a song to sway gently to. The pain has fallen into sync with the music. Bop weave, twist , and ...ouch. Bop, weave, twist,...ouch. Perfect timing. And they say white boys can't dance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Everybody Hates Me


I was recently and abruptly awakened to the fact that my 27 years in Maine has dulled and left in the dust, my used to be sharp and intuitive knowledge of what was hip. Noah from "KC Bike Commuting" filled me in on this movement that really kicked it into high gear 10 years ago or so. Damn. Guess I am going to have to read less "Field n Stream" and more "Punk Planet Online".

I was just getting used to Doc Martens. Now I find out they have been un-hip for at least a decade now. I just finished wrapping my mind around the concept of Goth, Marilyn Manson and long black trench coats in 100" F summer heat. And in the blink of a year or two, I am now faced with EMO.

Another avenue for angry young folk to show their displeasure with the idea of happiness. Another movement to prove it is indeed possible to be miserable in front of that $1000 computer up in their bedroom covered in Morrissey posters snug in the 4000 sq ft McMansion while Mom picks up their sister from dance class in the Lexus. Life sucks at 15. Doesn't matter what else is going on. It matters squat if we eat with a silver spoon or a plastic one. Life between the ages of 14 and 25 can come off feeling negative no matter what. Some of us need time to hate what we are to become before we get with the program.

Teenage angst. Post pubescent teenage grumpy gusses. Whining punks and punkettes. Used to be they wouldn't let us RocknRoll. Now we are denigrated when we cut ourselves. Seems a kid just can't catch a break. There s no new thing under the Sun. My mom was sure of it. The attitude is timeless. Only the manifestations change.

Judging from the high numbers of foul mood ridden teens found everywhere and in every time, you would think we'd stop whining about the lousy attitudes most kids get when they start growing hair we can't see. But no. It must be an obligation of getting older that we forget our own tough adjustments back in the day. And suddenly, we have never seen such ingrates in all our lives.

I can sure remember moments at 16 when I was sure not one person cared about me, everyone hated me, I wanted to eat some worms. Instead of piercings and tats, I smoked pot and dropped LSD. So when I see a Goth punk, an EMO cripple, or some punk with a huge chip on their shoulder, I know their pain, their piss poor attitude. I have been there myself. I survived in spite of myself. Most likely, they will too.

War Pigs

On my way home the other night from the shop, I noticed I had not prepped my commute properly. No CD in the player. I had to resort to tuning in the FM dial. Usually disatisfied with the offerings of commercial radio, I was pleasantly suprised to hear a cover of "War Pigs". A damn good cover IMO. Naturally they did not identify the only song I heard that I wanted to identify. All the others, but not that one.

The song brought back immediate flashbacks to my checkered past and my stint as a trucker in the Rock n Roll business. I handled Black Sabbath on two of their tours in the mid 70's. The picture to the right is the BS I remember up close and personal. "War Pigs" was and still is one of their top 5 signature tunes. No one can belt it out like they did.

So here I am 30 years later and knowing that if I ever heard "War Pigs" one more time, I would indeed go crazy. Catch it 3 to 5 nights a week in front 40,000 drunken and drugged fans and a lifetime of "War Pigs is experienced in just a few months. Their show never varied. Started with "Iron Man" and ended with "War Pigs". When the first whiffs of it filtered out to the dock area, I knew it was time to fire up the White Freightliner, prop open the trailer doors and be ready to back in for loading in 30 minutes or so. Clock work.

So here I sit 30 years later reliving all of this in my driveway before I shut off the engine after a slick and greasy drive home. I listen to another band playing homage to a group of Brits who hit it big and were instrumental in the establishement of a new splinter of RocknRoll. I listen and finally appreciate these, cough, "musicians", cough who could not read a note between them back in the day.

Even though they did not execute cleanly, their musical abilities still shine through. This song is still relevant today. Maybe more so now than during Nam. Put it in the hands of a more accomplished group and the quality of the musical possibilities are enhanced.

Now if I can just find out who did this freaking cover. I have googled and listened to at least 7 different versions. Some good, some bad. None as unique as the version I heard on the FM. Faith No More on U Tube and Cake's new version were the stand outs. Cake's comes as close to the new version I heard. It may be it, but the video version might be different.

No matter how well or true a cover is, they will never stack up to the original. This is usually true for the great ones. Black Sabbath back in the day Carried the big load in developing a sturdy and unique style of music. Heavy Metal permeates our society from Madison Avenue to High school sporting events. You can thank or blame Black Sabbath for their efforts.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Don Shula & Cheaters


It strikes my funny bone when folks get fired up at the instances of cheating in the pro sports world, yet hardly even blink when the same mentality or inclination is manifested in our political leaders.

The recent "spygate" foolishness of the Patriots is a matter of record. Also in that record is the fact that the Patriot organization owned up to the violation, took their medicine and now are moving on. There was no vacillation, denial, or attempt to dance around it. They manned up and took what came. Yet, they are being villified and claims of tainted victories now cloud their past and future. This is the sports world. Not even important in the overall scheme of real world concerns. People act as if the world is coming to an end over this.

And then there are the hypocrites. no more perfect example than Don Shula. Even after he back tracked, his assertion that should the Pats go undefeated, an asterisk should be placed next to their record still marks him as a hypocrit of the first order. He gets all huffy and recriminating over the Pats fall from grace, yet in his own career, he was instrumental in the loss of a first round draft pick imposed by the NFL on the Miami Dolphins in 1970. The charges were tampering and Don was at the center of it.

The pro sports world revolves around money. Lots and lots of money. Anyone who is suprised or shocked that short cuts are taken to get to the top or stay there need to pull their heads out of the sand more often.

So Don, maybe you should pay more attention to your steakhouses and less to something you have no control over. You look like a fool and have so far this year proven it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Confusion of Turkeys


I really do not have much to impart today. I woke up. Poured some coffee and noticed I had missed my wife. She was already gone to visit another client. Damn she gets an early start on her day.

Still a tad fuzzy and trying to recall another bizarre dream, I did the necessary mindless chores waiting. There were not many. Bobbi had left the house in it's usual ready mode. But I found a couple anyway.

Ate some grub. And then I sat down in front of the computer as if on automatic. Sat down and punched this damn thing up up like it was just another normal part of my day. Did not even reflect, question or do a double take. My time at the keyboard has wormed it's way into the fabric that is my life. Such as it is.

Okay. So here I am. Already checked my Ebay items. No new movement, questions, or alerts to consider. Edited through the recent emails. Read some posts on the few blogs I check erratically.

Okay. Now what? Any real business I have to do on the Internet is done.

I should turn it off and turn to more productive endeavor. I should put aside my urge to write and instead put a check mark on that large list of long term projects gathering dust in all corners of my realm. Yet I sit here pounding out words for the sake of pounding out words.

I don't have to have anything to say. Expounding on Nothing is fine with me. Even though there is always something on my mind. Well, I am sure there is something in there. Something deep and insightful. There always is. I just never spot it until I am in my truck between here and there. So today, we all will have to settle for nothing.

Okay. I have filled you in on just how full my morning has been. Brought you up to date regarding the flurry of inactivity that is my Friday morning here in Acton, Maine.

A Confusion of Turkeys

On NPR the other day (Yeah, I listen to it in the garage when I need some background noise to blunt the edge of whatever chore I am working out). So I notice they are interviewing some noted author and pundit about his writing. The host asks him about his creation of animal group names. It seems the author had done serious research into the origns of animal group names. You know, Pride of Lions, murder of crows, school of fish, blah blah blah.

He went on with some of his own creations. Since I cannot remember any of them, take my word they were very clever. Some funny ones. Some "Oh yeah I get it" ones.

I decided to take a break from my chores and take the Single Speed out for a couple of laps in the nature preserve across the road. Stub needed a run. I needed a break.

So I hit Trail #1. It runs flat for 200 yards or so and then turns down hill in a snaky double track. I am ahead of Stub and pulling ahead. I round a corner with Stub on my heels and into a very suprised flock of wild turkeys. They are hanging out in the middle of the trail. With no time to react, I just head for the middle of them and hope for the best. There were turkeys heading every which way. Some scrambling. Some taking flight. And me and Stub right there in the thick of them. One almost hit me as it took to the air. It's wing brushed my face. Stub got a mouthful of feathers from another. Damn, it was funny.

Immediately I remembered that noted author who had created his own animal group names. He would have appreciated this experience. He might even nod his head over my own name for this particular team of Turkeys.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dump Day


We finally received our first blanket of snow for the 07/08 Winter. A decent dusting of about 10"-12" or so. Snowed for 36 hours. Mother Nature couldn't dump it all at once. No, instead she turned it into a 2 day event that made me pull out the Ariens Snow Blower 3 times.

Had to go to the Dump. It was Wednesday afterall. Everyone was dug out and folks were back to the normal routines. The dump was up to full tilt boogie by 10 when I came through the gate. Not being open Monday when the storm was full bore made for a busy day today. I expected testier dump attendants than usual. Vehicles were backed up. I waited at least 3 minutes to get my turn at the hopper. Since I came in the AM, the Dump Nazis must not have had time to settle into their normal ill tempered selves. Skated through with nary a glance from the good ole boy monitoring all that we folks from town try to toss into his dumpster. No evil eye, just a nod as he flicked his butt into the snowbank.

The day after a snow storm has rolled through is usually a sparkler. Today was no different. I decided to take the long way home to take in as much of it as I could. With a recently burned CD mix of Blues up to wow inside the cab, I took a left out of the dump instead of the more direct right towards home. Climbed Goat Hill and dropped down the other side in low so's I could enjoy the scenery at 10 mph.

Taking a left on Red Gate Road around the back side of Great East Lake, I hit the pine tunnel. 100 foot high pines with snow laden branches bent down almost breaking under the weight. I then took 45 minutes to drive home when it would normally take me 10. Stopped here and there for some Kodak moments. The slide show to the right will give you a taste.

There is something special about that first real snow each winter. A definitive demarcation between one season and the next. Without the dreary tolerance dealt with at the end of a long winter, that first snow always picks me up. I should hate to see it. I should be pissed. Another 4 months of plowing, snow blowing and roof raking. Yeah, I should not look at this first snow with anything but disgust.

But I don't. I always enjoy the first few snow events. I will come in from that first drive clearing with staisfaction. I am prepped and have all the tools I need to meet another winter in Maine. Talk to me in March and I will be wishin someone else was using these tools.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Another day on the Planet


Over my must have first cup of coffee, I performed a file back up of sorts of my previous 10 hours or so. The smell of the coffee and the first few tastes eased me into the process. I think my routine with coffee is more of a procedural part of my day rather than a physical sustenance aspect. The time I spend savoring that first cup allows me to relive anything worth reliving, caste aside that which is forgettable, and remember what I may have promised the upcoming day.

Sunday Morning. Passed out last night around 8:30. Damn. Saturday nights definitely don't pan out like they did 30 years ago. Back then I would only pass out that early on a a Saturday night if I hadn't been to sleep since Thursday night. And that did happen on a semi regular basis.

Ah, the times I love to relive seem to be the ones I would be better off forgetting. The days spent inebriated, stoned, or tripped out stand out in the book of my past. Maybe it's the clarity with which I remember the sober moments that make them less mythical or mysterious. Thus rendering them uninteresting.

The reality of my past though is just the opposite. My best moments, my pinnacles of personal growth and achievement all happened when cold sober. I know this, yet attempting to draw up memories of drunken or drugged debauchery tease me constantly.

So I will not tip my hat to my checkered past in another post. I won't highlight moments best left uncovered. I will just say that it is another Sunday morning and I woke up to enjoy it.