Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mr Moderator

Okay.  Awhile back I agreed to become a moderator for a local Facebook page named "What's Up in Acton".  It is a closed group whose price of admission is having some connection, however nebulous, to the town of Acton, Maine.  The owner (administrator) of the site has a vision of a local site that does not feed the fires of hate and discontent.  His site is for publishing all things local - schedules, information, congratulations, and lovely images of pets and sunsets taken by local folk.  He wants the mood to be pleasant and civil.  I like the site and like his vision of it.

I did not appreciate at the time I took the job, that I would have to deal with a**holes like myself.  "Clockwork Orange" plays in my head every time I delete a post or shut down commenting.  I replay the movie and the scenes where "Alex", freshly out of detention, is accosted by two of his old partners in crime.  Only now, they are cops.  As it turns out, criminals do make better sheriffs it seems.

Confrontation and bad blood have their place out here in the weird world that is the Internet.  Everything has its place in the Internet.  There's plenty of room for hate and discontent.  I can find all I want.  I don't want to, nor should I, put that hate and discontent on a page that does not embrace it.

It's the polite thing to do and that's why I'm a speech cop of sorts.  It seems to me, especially given the times we are living in, Freedom of Speech is best exercised with common sense for the common good.

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

Friday, March 27, 2020

Another Covid-19 Diary - Nothing to Say

Many people are using their FB page  and/or their blogs to keep a "Corona Virus Log".  Titles like "Covid Log- Day 12" or "Quarantine Diary - 2020" fill us in on all the boredom someone else wants to share with us via the InterWebs.  When we had no virus, many, if not most of us, skipped the boring existences of others and chased down cat and dog videos, cute as pie baby vlogs, and righteous indignation meme's that disrespected their views on current affairs.  Are these virus histories really just a way to show others they are more bored than anyone else?

I wonder if I should start one and write down all the excitement that is now my life living in the southwestern pucker of Maine.  Okay.

So here goes.  Hmm .......................................................  Hold on.  I burned my hand on a pan handle two days ago and it hurt like Hell.  What's next?

Hmm ......................................................Uh,  My wife and I have begun making up Covid Gift bags with toilet paper and Kleenex in them.   ..................................................  Oh yeah, began some limited yard clean up.  Not because of the physical distancing thing, more because I am coming off some health issues and my stamina is, well, nonexistent.

Gas prices have plummeted.  A local Mom and Pop, Boonies, has gas at 1.49 /gal.  In Sanford, its $1.99 to 2.49.

Try as I might, I really have nothing to say. Yet, I still found a way to put nothing into words.

Ya'll stay safe, keep your distances, and stop believing any news that comes from the Administration or any Republican for that matter.  They are all full of shit.

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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Panic in the Pucker

I was confident I had not gotten sucked into the over the top panic that has our country and the World by the short hairs. I was sure I was being cool and aloof, totally resistant to the out of control anxiety sweeping the land.  Then I saw a Facebook post from a local creamery that offered five pounds of butter for $20. That's all it took for me to become " that guy ", the guy who throws common sense out the window and drive miles to score something he may not now need, but will surely need in his not too distant future.

The offer was simple enough.  Drive 30 miles to the creamery on Sunday noonish and between the hours of 1:00 and 2:00 PM , the nice folks there will give me a five pound bucket of lightly salted butter for $20, cash only, thank you very much.

A no brainer, right?  What could go wrong?  Polite civilized folks coagulating under the bright afternoon Sun would be surely be a pleasant encounter.  And who knows, new friends might be found.  The problem, as it turned out, was the creamery and myself did not consider that panicked folks are not prone to being sensible or pleasant at any given moment.

So happy as if I had a brain, I gathered up Maggie and we headed to Arundel, Maine.  All the way there I congratulated myself on getting over on the system.  Yeah, I was full of myself until I rounded the last sweeping curve on Rte. 111 before the creamery and was stopped dead in my tracks.  300 yards up at the creamery entrance, east and westbound traffic was at a standstill. Bumper to Bumper as far as the eye could see.   Rte 111, a crucial east-west artery in our parts, was clogged hard.  All in the name of butter.

I immediately came out of my panic driven haze and said, "To Hell with this.  I want no part of it."  And I performed the perfect 3 point turn around and headed the 30 miles back from whence I came.

Oddly I did not berate myself.  Usual stupidity on my part is followed by several moments of self flagellation and colorful recriminations.  Instead, as I was on the road, I parked self abuse for future fun and games.  I decided to stop off at Hannaford's, a regional supermarket chain, on my way home.  Just a short detour. I wanted to verify that the empty shelves I saw on Saturday were still empty on Sunday.

Imagine my delight when I walked into a store that had seriously re-stocked.  There was still no toilet paper, Kleenex, or disinfectant wipes, but I picked up bread, canned beans, lots of fresh chicken, and last but not least, 4 pounds of butter in a cold case that on Saturday was barren.  As it turned out, I found 90% of what was on the shopping list.  It dawned on me as I put butter in my cart, my panic driven 60 mile quest for butter was a fool's errand that emphasized the need to remain calm when all others have lost their shit.

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

Friday, March 06, 2020

1955 or Thereabouts

I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1952.  At the time the town was busy riding the economic wave of defense contract money being thrown at establishing an Air Force Academy there and efforts to defend against the Soviet nuclear threat which at the time was the DEW Line, a series of radar installations in the Arctic that would warn of Soviet Bombers encroaching into ours and Canada's airspace.  My father had much to do with spending that defense money as he was chief budget officer for the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).  He was especially proud of his work on the DEW Line.

My memories of Colorado Springs are mostly bits and pieces, hints and allegations passed down to me when I was older.  We left Colorado when I was four and settled in Japan for a brief period before moving to Hickam AFB in Hawaii when I was six.

Of the pleasant memories I can muster up as my own and not retold tales I heard around the dinner table, the most striking ones were the Rocky Mountains that loomed large outside my bedroom window just to the west of town. The Rockies' massive presence made anything else in the picture just incidental objects to give perspective to just how large and in charge the mountain chain was.

I remember being glued to the window late at night and watching lines of thunder storms breech the peaks to the west.  My horizon was completely inundated with countless lightning strikes that seemed to go on forever.  And I remember not being scared, just completely entranced by the awesome display.  To this day, even after having later felt a lightning strike up close enough to hurt some, I am not afraid of lightning.

My other memory I remember is the entertainment we could get over the airwaves which originated in Denver, 75 miles away.  The one radio station available played non stop Country.  So the first music I remember is Hank Williams and Bill Monroe who became lifetime favorites.  Television memories were all about Pinky Lee and Howdy Doody on a round black and white TV that only worked when we found the best position for the antenna complex that resided on top of the TV.

Then there are the second hand tales told to me by parents, brothers, uncles and aunts.  Most are funny, but I never have felt they were my memories.  They were someone else's interpretations of me as a child.  Tales constructed outside of my personal experience about my personal experience.  I am sure they were the true renditions of interested observers.

Some of the memories I have of this time were not so pleasant.  I remember going into panics when I knew we were headed to the base for another round of inoculations forced on me in the run up to us leaving for Japan.  I remember my dog Dooley and the night he ran out into the road and was hit by a car.

Some memories I buried for years. One was the notion that I never felt like a part of my family.  Kids pick up vibes and as soon as I had a clue, I never felt I was accepted completely and without reservation.  My brothers seemed distant and treated me like a stranger.  It was not until I found my parents marriage certificate after Dad died that the cold shoulder I felt my whole life made some sense.  I was conceived out of wedlock between husbands.  And even though officially I was not a bastard, I think now that I was treated as one by my brothers and my mother's family.  Oddly my father's sister, my puritanical Aunt Helen, accepted me into her heart without reservation and became my defacto grand parent.

Don't get me wrong.  I was never mistreated in the classical sense.  It was more a feeling of being ignored, or being a tiring responsibility one dealt with.  To this day, I still  harbor some latent resentment.

So there you are, some memories dating back as far as I can remember.  Hope you enjoyed them as I certainly have writing them down.

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

Thursday, March 05, 2020

SSDD - Big Money Wins Again

Well Maine did its best to keep a wannabe Republican from winning the Democratic Primary here in Maine.  Bernie won my town Acton, 109 to Biden's 85.  Yes, Status Quo Joe had a good day.  Super Tuesday has to be a disappointment to Bernie and crew.  In the long run it matters not as long as the Democrats can pull everyone together to drop Trump like a bad habit come November 3rd.

And so it goes.  The corporate establishment running the Democratic Party finally pulled their heads out of their asses and fell back on the time honored "smoke filled back room dealing" that worked so well in the past.  I am not sure what was promised to whom, but the sudden departure from the race of Mayor Pete and Klobuchar just before Super Tuesday smelled of that kind of dealing.  If Biden wins the nomination, something tells me one of them will be his running mate.  Though I think Warren would be better controlled if she was his VP and not running around loose in the Senate.

And then Biden rewarded Beto for his support with a promise he will be in charge of Biden's Gun Control efforts.  The old dog tricks at work.  Almost makes me tear up.  The smoke is really starting to billow out of those back rooms.

Of course I cannot prove, nor do I wish to prove these old school political machinations.  It is what politics are based on.  Deals behind closed doors that will placate the real power behind politics, Big Money.

There used to be some balance between those who ran the Capitalist/ Business side of things and those who ran the country from the various seats of power scattered hither and yon.  Sensible Capitalists had been taught the hard way back in the early part of the 20th century that unbridled Capitalism ends up being counter productive to not only the people whose labor they depended on but in the long run, their own bottom line as well.

The progress this country made starting with Teddy Roosevelt and his campaign to break the strangle hold of monopolies to his cousin FDR's success in establishing social programs convinced the Capitalists of the 50's, 60's and 70's that a Progressive agenda and money grubbing could coexist nicely.  The uncomfortable alliance held right up until the Reagan dynasty.  That is when unfettered greed took over.  It has been downhill ever since.

Blinded by their avarice and bulging pockets, the money grubbers will pay a price.  They always do.  At some point serfs will show up at their front gates and they won't be asking anymore, they will take what they feel is owed. 

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

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

It is Humble Perfection

I was pretty sure my Metal days were over.  I used to bang my head with the best of them for awhile.  Metal, like Pop music, all started sounding the same.  It was the 80s, nobody but Metallica did it for me.  I moved on I guess.  Then a year ago, a good friend turned me onto "The Sound of Silence" cover by Disturbed, a Metal band I had never gotten to know.  Just like that, Metal was back in my life.

Cool.  There's always room to welcome back an old friend.

As I watched one of the video's, I perused the comments looking for the one comment that encapsulated this song as I perceive Simon and Garfunkel , and now Disturbed, meant it to .

Jessica from who knows where wrote, "This song gives me another heart beat.  It is humble perfection."


Tuesday, March 03, 2020

GOP Light

So its Super Tuesday.  I'm currently parked in front of the 'puter, sipping day old coffee, and deciding when I want to head down to the Town Hall to cast my vote. And now that the field has narrowed from a mob to just a crowd, the choices I have will be easier to sort out.  Or not.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the choices are clear to me.  It is either vote for Bernie in an effort to return the Democratic Party to the Left side of the aisle, or vote for one of the Right Wing cookie cutter Democrats still standing.

If Biden wins the nomination and the presidency, the Right will still be in control.  But at least we will be rid of Trump.

Over the last 40 years, mainstream Democrats have been herded and cajoled away from their progressive roots on the Left to a position on the other side of the aisle and are now nothing but a sub group of the Right I call "GOP Light".

No real Democrat would be afraid of Bernie and his Democratic Socialism.  And no real Democratic leader would be working so hard to defeat him.  The party I joined so many years ago is but a bad joke as they toss us nothing but Left leaning lip service, while actually supporting the money grubbers of Wall Street and Big Business by their actions.

Yes, I am angry at the Right for trying to push this country into a Fascist style existence.  But I am angrier at the Democrats for helping them row the boat.

Regardless folks, go out and vote.  It is the least you can do as a citizen.

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

Monday, March 02, 2020

No Roaches Monday - Smokin or Otherwise

I looked in the basement, the garage, and my office. There were no roaches to be found.  This is Monday ferchrisakes.  How am I to make it through the day without at least one roach to smoke?  That's what happens when a lifelong habit becomes just another SSDD activity that has no thought invested or planning laid out because I have taken said activity for granted all these years.

Habits, good and bad, need nourishing environments for them to prosper into habits we can depend on.  A habit has to first, be recognized, then nurtured from passing fancy into the life support tool we want them to become.  Their negative or positive effects on us only important as the importance we assign them.

If I think a habit has gotten out of control, I will most likely choose to stop said habit.  If I have no problem with it, I go on my merry way, happy as if I had a brain.  And yes, sometimes a habit can become so onerous as to raise concerns of those around me.  I would be lying if I said none of my habits irritated others.  

My childhood tendency to always ask "why" about anything caused my parents no end of frustration.  Their frustration only fed my new habit of how to irritate parents because they deserve it.  I found I could punish them to the third or fourth "Because I said so" before I had to duck and cover.  Wonderful game that lost its luster when I learned around age eight, there are too many answers to the question "why".  If I wanted an answer, I more often than not, had to find it for myself.

But I digress, and I did it right out of the blocks.

A post that  has a designated time and place in my communiques to the World should be experienced as the rules I have written demand.  No roaches around?  Guess I will have to roll up a couple joints and smoke em just so I can smoke a roach or two on Smokin Roaches Monday.

Damn.  Two joints may be too tough to take just to make two roaches.  .... Hmm     Oh well, its more about the effort than the result.  Right?

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

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Hard Train to Stop

Since the creation of Israel in 1948, the US has given them $142.3 Billion dollars ( Non inflation adjusted).  Far and away, the most foreign aid in dollars to any country we did not occupy.  In 2016, the US signed off on a new 10 year, $38 Billion dollar deal.  That is $10.4 Million dollars a day to prop up the 20th richest (GDP) country in the World. 

People contend that Israel and the US share mutual interests.  Don't kid yourself.  On the surface our support may seem altruistic, a help the poor underdog tear jerker.  Our support is nothing more than propping up an authoritarian chief of state, Netanyahu, who we hope by proxy, will help enforce our version of empire on the Mideast.  Apparently it is fine for some here in the US, but count me out.  I have had it with Zionism and all that it entails.

Israel has always had my attention since I was smitten by the 1960 movie "Exodus" that starred Paul Newman.  It was a tale of rag tag Jewish Holocaust refugees of WWll who emigrated to Palestine and wrested control of a chunk of sand away from the Palestinians who were currently living there.

An epic of over 3 hours long, Exodus covered the period leading up to the founding of Israel in 1948.  It is now credited as a major contributor in the rise of Zionism in this country.  As an eight year old, I only saw a great movie that made me feel sorry for those poor Holocaust survivors.  I was swept away by it and became a fan of Israel for years.  They were the good guys.

I had Israel's back for years.  I ignored the propaganda of those folks who found fault with the manner in which Israel carried itself in the Mideast.  They were just a small country doing what was needed to survive while being surrounded by countries who wanted them destroyed. Classic Old Testament David and Goliath stuff.

Israel, with our financing, not only held their own, they actually increased their square footage through trumped up wars as they took more land away from those evil Muslims.  And everyone in the US cheered.  After all, according to some, the Israeli's were just taking back what was theirs to begin with so long ago before the time of Christ.  And though the words were not spoken, the sentiment was Muslims bad, White People good. The Crusades were back with a vengeance.  Only now, Christianity had proxies to fight their war for them.

I eventually became disenchanted with Israel's underdog story and began to view them as the bully, not the oppressed.  For the last 30 years or so, I have wished the US would cut the financial cord.  But once a thing has begun and gathers historical momentum, it is a hard train to stop. 

The US keeps feeding the beast without any real attention being paid to what that beast is up to.  We have done this time after time and continue to do it.  It is time to cut off Israel's bank account.  They can take care of themselves.

Later ......................................
Source for Stats for aid

Source for Richest countries in the World