Saturday, May 22, 2010


We still get "US News & World Report". The magazine has been coming to Sam Page Road since the mid 1960s. It is but a shadow of what it once was. Over the years it's twice a month publication has dwindled first to once a month to now I guess maybe 4 or 5 times a year. I have always liked it because the articles were brief and to the point in words that made complex issues easy for my simple mind to understand. The magazine has morphed from a general overview of the World and what's happening to single topic publications that dig deep into one or two topics.

A recent issue was dedicated to Graduate school. Who's good, who's not so good. What jobs are hot, what jobs are not. What kind of pay to expect....blah, blah, blah.

One article caught my eye. It was about ethics. Specifically the notion of ethics as taught or not taught in the various MBA programs at the top universities. The set up was that for years, American MBA programs were focused on maximizing profit in the shortest time or way possible. A nice way of saying I guess, we taught our grad students the "quick buck" approach to business. Any notion of ethics and business being given the high hat and laughed at.

Anyone who has even paid the slightest bit of attention over the years knows this is definitely true. The article points out that the recent financial crisis is directly related to the mentality our business leaders carried out of school when they hit the bricks looking for work.

Okay fine. The article points out the obvious. What I found interesting was the opinion or is it wisdom of one old guard business professor who disagrees that the lack of any ethical base in the teaching model had anything to do with creating the greed mindset that permeates the top tiers of American business.

His argument was based on the misguided notion that if something is legal, it is also ethical. In my opinion, his defense or denial of his role in molding our future business leaders points up one of the major weaknesses of the American business model. Legality is not often ethical. The two can co-exist, but when laws are business related, ethics sit in the back of the bus. Business laws, or laws in general, are about control. Ethics, more often than not, have little to do with it.

This professor's mindset is unfortunately a very common one found throughout the collective outlook of America. We have become so reliant on the government telling us what is right or wrong through the legislative process, we can't even see the unethical aspects of what some laws do to our lives or other's lives. No better example exists than the professor's comment regarding the business world of this nation.

We figure if there is no law against it, whatever it is must be okay. We also base our condemnation of certain actions or activities solely on the legal status of that action or activity. Happy as if we have brains, we assume ethical reasons exist for the specific law or lack of law. And in the meantime the ethically challenged leadership of our nation snicker and roll their eyes over what morons we are.


Monday, May 17, 2010

My Manly Image

Jim of Jim-Jim told me to keep it down the other day when I asked him if he wanted some of the Hydrangea I was yanking out of the yard behind my house. The small clump of 20 years ago had become an unruly mob. Undisciplined and out of freakin control.

"Shh Mike. We have to think about our Man images. Talk of flowers, transplanting and such nonsense might just give folks the wrong idea about which side of the plate we bat from."

You're left handed Jim, you should be okay with it. Me, well being a rightie, I probably ought to question what I have lurking in my closet." We both smiled. Just more of the usual male banter that exists between friends and colleagues.

This small conversation deriding any male affinity for plants of the flowering type bounced around my mind over the past few days as I busily worked on the many plants in my yard that actually produce flowers most of us would find pleasant to look at.

I like flowers. I have always liked them. Of course, growing up in a house with a crazed amateur horticulturist did not give me many other options. My father was constantly messing with plants. He grew corn in Hawaii when everyone on base told him it was impossible. He managed to create wonderful beds of color everywhere we lived.

When I was young, his flower beds, his yard, his little slice of this planet was more a land of Hell for me. He was the brains. I was the labor. Weed there, mow that, trim this. Yard work sucked when everyone else was playing ball down at the local school yard. I did my best to deny I actually enjoyed it, but apparently some of his passion rubbed off.

I will admit though, about the beginning of July, I grow weary of the maintenance factor. I begin to slack and by September, the yard looks like me just before my next haircut. I excuse this personal failing by insisting I am just allowing the yard to create a good winter coat to survive the upcoming months of ice and snow. Yeah, right. I enjoy slacking almost more than working. Some days, any excuse to slack is better than the alternative.

Captured On Film

This is called the Pink Lady's Slipper. Not sure why. After I downloaded the kodak moments I had earlier over to Mary's Woods across from my dooryard, I looked at this best ever effort of mine and decided they are not slippers, but complete women. Look at this image long enough and I swear I am looking at a female of some type. Arms are spread uncovering her small breasts which dangle under what would appear to be the latest and greatest of hat fashions. And those pink pants! Yeah this is no slipper.

These random moments of wild beauty are sprinkled liberally throughout the woods around here. On my walk, I counted 8 Lady's slippers. 10, if I count the 2 that had been eaten by some low rent local critter. Hope they got sick.

Apparently 4 types of Lady Slippers exist in Maine. This is the most common. I have never seen any of the other three.

Just wanted to share a picture I took this morning with Stub in the woods .....Later........Gotta get to work.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Just Like James Bond

Okay. I am again truly impressed with what some folks have created because of the Internets. Just when I thought the World Wild Web was turning into a multi media ho hummer destined to become just another mass communication device exploited by greedy people, I run into an example of why the Internet will most likely never become 100% commercial.

My recent reminder of how powerful this medium is started with my question of yesterday regarding the name of the two plants growing roadside in my front dooryard.

Not happy with just asking faceless strangers from across the globe, I also asked my landscaper neighbor. Immediately he knew what they were.

Korean Spice Viburnum ‘Aurora’ is apparently what they are. My landscaping neighbor was right, even if his spelling was off. It was close enough for Google to make assumptions and then ask, "Did you mean........"

Well I guess I did really mean that. The one picture in bright light without snow came from a site in Missouri. The top image is here after a Spring snow squall last month. And the one below I snapped a day or so ago as the flowers entered their last gasp for the season.

Okay, so I learned the name of a plant that has been growing out front on Sam Page Road for the last50 years or so. Certainly not anything of serious interest outside the confines of my own mind. But as I searched for the name and other juicy tidbits on it, I found a gardening forum. Dave's Garden has over 234,000 images of plants and other garden oriented images. And apparently there is a forum for any subject that may even somewhat pertain to planting stuff in the ground.

I guess it makes sense though. Anything people are passionate about has created millions and jillions of conversations and inquiries over these early years as the World becomes truly connected. It is only natural for the anal retentive and the organized among us to collate, segregate, aggregate, and assimilate the inquiries and conversations into convenient lump sums for like minded people to congregate around. Networks pertaining to minute and specific interests spread across the planet and suddenly there is more information on the thread pitch of a class 8 bolt than any one human could know on their own.

I am reminded of the first trip one Mainer took in 1986 with me as co-driver delivering Burger King Buns to NYC from the bakery in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine. This driver had learned the trucking trade hauling logs and chips. Never been South of Portland in his 25 years on the Planet. We hit the Industrial park areas outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Modern glass and steel buildings everywhere. My Co-driver bumpkin in the buddy seat looked at all the steel and glass whizzing by on I-84 and said, "Wow, this is just like James Bond."


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Apology & A Question

I only have a few moments this AM. Not being the super multi-tasker my wife is, I can only keep 3 or 4 balls in the air at a time. Invariably one gets dropped. Right now, the ball that gets dropped and not picked up right away is this blog. Call this post a general apology for my lack of posts and more importantly, my absence from many of the comment sections in the blogs I usually visit. I will be back as soon as I get things under control in the real world.

Hmm......... I have never had the real world under control. I do not see it happening now. So let's just say I will be back as soon as I am satisfied I have given it my best shot.


The pictures of flora you see are of a plant that has existed roadside in front of my house since my family moved in here in 1966. My father knew what kind of plant it is. The neighbor lady thinks she knows but cannot recollect the name. Said she know it if she heard it. Okay, so she doesn't know either. She's a nice lady and well, in the name of neighborly relations, I refrained from pointing this out.

My question is - does anyone know what this plant is? It blooms in early Spring and is the nicest smelling plant in the area. I have never seen it anywhere but in my front yard. Do any of you folks who might see this know what it is?

Gotta run - I hear a chain saw calling my name.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day - 250 Words

I grabbed my coffee and headed to the cashier. Caleb scooted in front of me with two small containers of bait worms in his hands.

"Jeezum Caleb, take it easy. What's the hurry? You make me spill my coffee, I'll make you eat those worms."

Caleb turned towards me and grinned. Near impossible to get mad at a 12 year old boy holding worms and a fishing rod. I smiled too.

"What's this fishin thing dude? It’s Mother's Day. You should be home massaging your Mom's feet."

“Yes, Caleb should be home massaging my feet. But he can do that later.” Caleb’s mom stepped around me and dropped 2 singles and a quarter on the counter. “She looked at Marcy, the clerk and asked, “That enough? I gotta run or I’ll be late for work.” She headed for the door.

Marcy looked at Caleb and said, “No Michelle, it ain’t enough. We’ll straighten it out later.” Caleb’s face reddened and his grin disappeared. He grabbed his worms and followed his mom towards the door.

The $42 I had charged Caleb the day before for fixing his bike now seemed like gouging even after deeply discounting my efforts. Setting my coffee down, I said, “Marcy, whatever Caleb owes on the worms .....include that with my coffee.”

Marcy smiled. “You lookin to get me in trouble? Michelle finds out someone paid her way and she’ll kill both of us. She ain’t got much but Caleb and her pride. Thanks, but leave it alone.”


I am not sure why this became my Mother's Day Post. An encounter in a local 7-Eleven early this morning with a mom late for work on Mother's Day somehow got it's hooks in me. This was the result.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Sitting on a Cornflake


It's time for some good sour mash.

Or at the very least,

Time for some tolerable mash.

Ten, fifteen years of sobriety

More or less

Occasional reminders are nice

To relive that which is now lost.


Clean out the dust from the shot glass.

Pump up Spooky Tooth to WOW.

Pour a civilized shot.

Tip it back, taste the brown liquid heat.

Feel that heat down to my feet.

Suddenly it is 1976 again.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


I am convinced now that we often end up getting what we deserve even if what we get seems to happen for no good reason.

Take for instance the picture of the expensive and almost new broken bike part. When it broke and left me without the means to finish the off road ride last Thursday, I went with the flow of it. Shit happens. Parts break.

A good friend who was riding with us bailed from the ride with me. I walked and he rode to his house which was nearby. He gave up his ride to give me a ride back to the bike shop. He also loaned me a spare wheel so that I could ride the following Sunday while my rear wheel waited for parts. That's what good friends do for each other.

From bad moments, good Karma has a way of smoothing out the rough spots. Being dense and stupid, I often do not realize or appreciate these good moments. This was one of them.

Saturday morning a few of us, my friend included, were going to do a quick road ride. Unfortunately, the pre-ride conversation turned into one of heated political debate. My friend took a stand. I took another. Ten minutes later I stepped off the edge and let my temper ruin the ride and strain the friendship. Instead of shutting up and riding, which is our basic rule, I chose to carry my chip hard. The ride only lasted 5 minutes. My friend went home pissed. I sat in the darkened bike shop and brooded.

I searched my mind for the reason I was so upset. Certainly this political argument was not the reason, but only the result. It finally dawned on me I have been wound so tightly of late, I needed to relieve some of the pressure. A struggling business can do that to a man.

Taking it out on a good friend is not the way to do it though. Why then have I consistently pulled this kind of crap over the years? It does not happen often, but I have a history of this going back as far back as I can remember. Unbridled and unreasonable anger followed by serious regret.

Okay, so I have established that I have it in me to be a total jerk. And what's my point?

Everything comes full circle.

My friend and I worked out our differences. I put the wheel he loaned me on my mountain bike. And what happens? The same part that broke on my wheel broke on his wheel while I was using it. Only this time we were miles from the bike shop in the middle of the biggest cloud of black flies in York County, Maine. As I slowly worked my way out of the woods and the black flies, all I could do was smile. There is always payback. I deserved this. This is what happens to jerks.