Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Its Polka Time


A Facebook friend got me started today when he posted about having been "forced" to watch the Lawrence Welk Show as a kid. Jeff, if you read this, suck it up. You seem to have survived just fine.

As children, many Boomers had the pleasure or the pain of dealing with a weekly dose of Lawrence Welk. He was the  equivalent of a Rock Star back in the day. Women wearing winged glasses and full length dresses gathered with their husbands and families in front of  black and white TV's with 15 inch screens every week to see what Lawrence had up his sleeve this time. 

Every week he offered up a mixed bag of homogenized and pasteurized American music that lifted hearts throughout the land. His show had no rough edges, no bite; it was cheese puff entertainment. And America loved it, or at least the honchos running the shows thought so.

Only Ed Sullivan's show was more popular. Of course Ed allowed the latest immoral and deviant Rock n Roll stars to actually play their devil's music in front of the whole country. Gasp, oh the horror. Lawrence was decorum and civility squared.

Although Lawrence appeared to be a pleasant man, an affable man; as a kid, I always thought there was something off about him. He never stopped with that smile during the whole show. Come on now, nobody smiles that much. Ed Sullivan never smiled that much. Matter of fact Ed did not smile much at all. 

Myron and his accordion were a weekly mainstay on Welk's show. There seemed to be at least one polka number or accordion rendition of an old standard every week.  After the Lawrence Welk show ended, Myron hit the road and performed over 200 shows a year as a solo act or with the orchestra he created. He even appeared in a music video by Kansas. 

Nationally renowned as he was, Myron never was an A-lister though. He worked hard, recorded many albums, and played every East Gish boondock venue he could find. One year he even filled the grandstand at the Acton Fair. 

I am not sure of the year, but I think it was the early 1970s that Myron made all the blue haired ladies in town swoon when he played to a packed house at the Acton Fair's grandstands which usually only saw pulling contests of the animal and mechanical kind. 

Some days after his appearance I was over to Half Way Up Farm, my Aunt Helen's place on the Witch Trot Road for some errand or chore I was to perform for her. I asked her if any of her buddies had thrown their bloomers onto the stage. 

Without missing a beat, she looked at me with the disapproving look she had mastered over 70 years of living. "They are referred today as underwear. And to answer your question; No, I saw nothing tossed on the stage, though the ladies from the Old Timer's Shop were quite giddy."

The twinkle in her eye and the slight upturn of the corners of her mouth told me she probably had one of the best times of her life that night. 

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


And in keeping with the music of my forebears, please give a moment or two to listen to Myron at his best - "12th Street Rag" and then "Tico Tico". The man knew his way around an accordion.


Monday, December 27, 2021

Another Free Thinker

Made the mistake of stopping for just two minutes in front of the TV this morning as I prepared the morning pet repast. I heard the most recent failed Winger slogan, "Lets go Brandon". I always get a chuckle when the Winger chuckle heads come out with what they consider another Libtard owning idea, saying, or incredibly stupid crazier than any before conspiracy theory. 

I know in the scheme of Winger nonsense, "Let's go Brandon" doesn't even ring a bell. It is a wink, wink, nod, nod smile, gotcha slogan that only has wings flying around in the local internet cesspools where the self inflicted stupidity of the Winger homelands is obsessed over. 

I had forgotten about it until Joe and Jill Biden's Merry Christmas call with an Oregon father of four went viral.  Pleasantries and good tidings were exchanged between the Bidens and Jared Schmeck. Before they both signed off, Jared blurted, "Let's go Branden".

Of course the tight asses among the elite of the Left got huffy and righteously indignant. Many mounted their high horses. Meanwhile, the slack jawed coalition of the Right laughed uproariously. Everyone it appears got something out of it. What caught my attention though was the follow up to this interaction.

Jared decided he needed to clarify his remarks . He felt they had been taken the wrong way. Insisting he meant no disrespect, he followed with this:

    "Schmeck said he’s not a “Trumper,” but described himself as “free-thinking             American and follower of Jesus Christ.”   

The contradiction in his assertion caught me and I immediately thought that following Christ meant one had given up their ability to freely think. I know that the Thumpers and Trumpers will contend I am wrong and they are free to think that. But this incongruity does not jibe with my understanding of the term "Free Thinking". Apparently Jared Schmeck's notion of free thinking does not mesh well with it either. At least three well regarded internet dictionaries have this to say:

  • Dictionary.com a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.
  • Merriam-Webstera person who thinks freely or independently : one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; Especially one who rejects or is skeptical of religious dogma
  • Cambridge Dictionary - forming your own opinions and beliefs, especially about religion or politics, rather than just accepting what is officially, or commonly believed and taught 

I have tried to find some way to include "free thinking" with religious belief. At best all I can come with for the free thinkers who rely on religious dogma to frame their life, is they might be called "semi-free thinkers".  And it would only apply to those who follow the spirit of the Bible or Quran and not the hard core literal translations. 

In my opinion, free thinkers generally do not fit well into the boxes religion nails around them. I know from my own struggles as a kid before I tossed organized religion out of my life, the narrow path set out by religion for me to follow did not allow me the freedom to consider that all things are possible not just that which is laid down in a book written by folks who are more interested in controlling me than setting me free.

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


Today's musical interlude  - Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen.  After all, the World is nothing without them.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Puke Salad - Revisited

I am amazed at the ingenuity humans use to combine simple mundane ingredients, cook them and then serve them as gastronomical wonders that please tongues everywhere. How many failed recipes did Humanity have to suffer through to find the ones that separated food from just a survival tool into the dishes we have loved to get fat on?

Other than the folks who cannot get past the look of this wonderful dish, I have never met anyone who did not enjoy it. So, because of the interest shown in my wife's Puke Salad, I offer up the recipe she got from her first mother in law. It is so simple, it smacks as a recipe found on the back of a Jello box. So I doubt it has noble roots going back hundreds of generations or anything. But I bet it sticks around for the next hundred generations .............. If we last that long.

Enjoy. And while you are at it,

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

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Puke Salad


So it's Christmas Evening, 2021. Best laid plans have been shot out of the water. My wife is the only one who manages best laid plans. Me, well I learned long ago to think about plans but never totally commit,  as any plans I make often come off half baked. I am better and more successful at shooting from the hip and turning chaos into a party. Anyway, the kids (daughter and her SO, "Mr. Man") were supposed to swing by for a sumptious repast and now they aren't. Freezing rain and a three and a half hour drive through it negated those plans. We are getting together next week anyway, so our seasonal hoe-down will still happen, just a week late is all.

I had my mouth all set for lobsters, steamed shrimp, a dizzying array of baked goodies, and last but not least, BA's infamous "Puke Salad". I do not know its real name. BA's brother named it that back when they were kids. He has refused to let one spoonful pass his lips ever since. My daughter's husband is of the same mindset. Just can't get past the name and the fact that it actually looks like puke...... green puke as a matter of fact. But I tell you what, I could live off the stuff. If there are gods out there eating somewhere, they are feasting on Puke Salad for sure. It is so delicious.  

With the day's plans shot in the butt, we reset our day to accommodate what turned out to be just another day on the planet for the two of us. BA threw the shrimp back in the freezer but she assured me Puke Salad was still on today's menu. We will eat the lobsters and my wife will be secretly pleased. She would rather eat lobster than anything else. Me, well I like lobster well enough, but I prefer  steamed clams.  But with two lobsters to myself, I really cannot complain.

Up until the last decade or so I would dread the Christmas season. It was never a fun time when I was growing up. More alcohol than usual was consumed which led to more ugly confrontations between the adults that inhabited my life at the time. I grew out of it, but still a little sadness always tainted my holiday revelry. I accept it and eagerly wait for the new year to offer me the hope of a better year than the last. 

But what constitutes "better"? The word conjures up comparisons which leads to the notion of "its relative", which ends being so much bull shit. I have decided that "a better year" is the next one I enter still above ground. That is what matters. All the angst and sorrow I dumped on myself over the years only confused the issue. The issue was always simple. It was never complicated. .....................

 Tis the season to be jolly ............................


This Christmas night I offer up for my musical offering - Father Christmas by The Kinks - A band I drove for and had the best month of my driving career.

Friday, December 24, 2021

HO !

It looks like we are going to squeak through with a White Christmas. That 7" storm we received a few days ago was followed a couple of days later by freezing rain and now we have maybe 3 inches of the white stuff under ice to look out at and try to fool ourselves it is another normal Christmas in Maine.

Regardless, my family and I are going to celebrate the Holidays as we have for the last many years and yes, it will be much better than last Christmas. So I am counting my blessings with hopes that everyone will pause to count theirs. The blessings are out there. We just need to take the time and effort to push them to the front.

HO !   ...............................

***  In the interest of full disclosure - Technically, the pictured Outhouse is not mine. However, I did follow its construction closely as my neighbor Duncan built it. I offered him appropriate verbal encouragement. I also used it once or twice just to say I did and to give it my meaningless stamp of approval. Finally, under extremely difficult footing conditions, I bravely ventured out and took that picture after the infamous Ice Storm of 08'. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Of Caterpillars & Snow

We finally saw our first real snow of Winter 2021/2022. Up to this point, all I had measured by eye was a total accumulation of less than two inches. This 7-8 inch dump overnight is as close to a real storm as we are likely to get before the end of the year. 

Enough said. I won't get up on my climate change high horse and beat the Humanity is killing itself drum. 

Which brings me to caterpillars.

I ran into this cute little feller on the Smithsonian Channel this morning on some show about all the weird and wonderful stuff found throughout the natural world that most of us would never know existed if not for the efforts of folks carrying magnifying glasses and butterfly nets.

This future Aussie moth, the Uraba Lugens, has a very unique defense mechanism not included at birth. It actually creates that so very cool head dress as a defense against its arch enemy, the stink bug. 

As it grows, the uraba lugens has to discard one skin for a newer more roomier one. Not one to leave its trash kicking around for others to trip over, this catepillar eats its old skin but saves the head to become another ornament on top of the last head. And so it goes. Eventually as its end time nears, it looks like the dashing dude chilling a few lines up. The stink bug, who everyone knows is not the brightest bug to fly to the flame, becomes confused and befuddled when confronted with this five headed monstrosity. It loses its cool and blindly tries to stab its proboscis into one head after another attempting to suck out the little Uraba's vital juices. 

Looking good is far more important to these sharply festooned critters. It's a matter of survival.

All this bug watching and conversation again makes me wonder if I did miss my calling back in the day when I decided to not pursue a science oriented career. I can remember declaring I was going to be a marine biologist. And sharks were going to be my focus. ..........................

I will never know that "what if". All I can do is embrace what was, what is and what will be.

Later Gator ..........................................


PS - Music this Sunday is an appropriate tune written by Tom Waits and this is by Beth Hart.

 I will close with a collage of a few locals who spend their summer here growing fat and beautiful.

Friday, December 17, 2021

We Can't Know What We Don't Know

I recently vowed to no one in particular I would not react to the viral stupidity our elected leaders practice day in and day out. But again, that rolling train wreck that is the GOP these days is constantly shoved in my face on any number of media outlets I would happen to glance at or listen to. The barrage of lunacy pouring out of GOP mouths and propaganda sites is impossible to avoid. Some of the nonsense always slithers through even the best of defense mechanisms.

This morning was no different.

I made the mistake of turning the TV on before I had successfully grounded myself after a tumultuous night of bizarre dreams. Before the video even came into focus, these were the first words I heard,

"We can't know what we don't know."

I knew the words were the regurgitations of a GOP butt licker of some kind; either a drone, or one of their eloquent leaders. Words this profound could never come from any other source. The Right has been formalizing and manipulating stupidity and lunacy into a fine art over the last  two or three decades anyway.

Those words should have been my warning that upcoming moments I wish had back were about to be wasted by stopping my morning routine to find out what Einstein came up with that bit of wisdom.

Apparently this happened during a debate among GOP candidates for governor of Minnesota. The question was simple, point blank, with apparently no wiggle room. It begged for either a Yes or a No answer. With Politicians though, no question is ever really asking for a yes or no answer.

The question was,  "Do you think Biden won the election?"

And the response of one of them was, "We can't know what we don't know." 

The video part of the news piece finally caught up to the audio and on the screen there stood a very earnest looking man, clean cut, and clear eyed. With no trace of irony in his voice, he repeated,

"We can't know what we don't know."

Indeed sir. Well played. You surely clarified your stand on the recent election. I look forward to more of that kind of drivel in our next encounter.

I turned off the TV and came in to cry on someone's shoulder. Didn't matter who, just someone who could prove to me the inmates have not really taken over the asylum.

Oh well..... All we ever really can do is .........

Keep it 'tween the ditches..........
________________________________  @400 words

PS - a new feature on the BoZone is hopefully a regular posting of music I have loved, music I have discovered, and music that made me cry.

Today's choice is Spooky Tooth's best ever cover of  "I am a Walrus" written by John and Paul of the Beatles. I wore out my first copy of this album back in the early 1970's.

Enjoy ...........................

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Nothing In - Everything Out

This morning I  broke my newly created rule only days after creating it. I ordered myself to not allow a bad day to ruin my Sunday. While this has not become a bad day in the life, it seemed headed there after an hour of socializing on social media. 


Now ain't that odd. A worldwide group of Internet communities called "social media" turns many of us into a Gloomy Gus, everyone else is an asshole participant. Civility is often only skin deep on many pages and sites. Why I forget this so often, I do not know. I still insist on deluding myself everyone on the planet wants to have a nice day. Regularly I rediscover the many people who revel in and celebrate being in an ugly mood, a judgmental mood, or just a plain ole mean mood. And like this AM, I often get sucked into the vortex. 

Most days I think a more accurate name for Facebook and its kindred spirit social media buds would be "Anti-Social Media".

Today though I snapped out of it, grabbed a fresh cup of coffee, sparked up a doob,and pumped the music up to Wow. I closed my eyes and focused on sweeping my mind clean; leaving Nothing inside and driving Everything out. Five songs into the Rolling Stones album, "Let it Bleed" I opened my eyes.  

Nothing had conquered Everything and my Sunday was back on track. _________________________________

The first time I heard "Let It Bleed" was in 1969. We were breaking into a recently purchased bag of pot in Snake's basement. The album was playing on one of those four foot long Motorola stereos so popular in the 1960s. His grandparents had bought a new stereo and they let Snake claim the old one for his basement retreat. The speakers only lasted for a month or so once Snake took charge of the furniture sized boom box. That was okay though. I hooked up some speakers my dad gave me and it sounded even better.

So here is a taste of that great album ................... "Midnight Rambler"


Picking the best tune on this album was impossible.

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

Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Government is Not the Enemy - The Private Sector Is

I am so sick of hearing the bullshit about how the private sector does things better and cheaper than the government when in most cases where there are universal needs, that assertion is absolutely false. Stop believing in the private sector to solve every problem. They can't because they depend on a profit motive to exist. Some services are better left to well designed and run government management that has the profit motive removed from the equation.

Healthcare, Prisons, Power grids, and distribution of electricity are three industries that should have at least more government oversight than they currently do.  Instead, the greed of the private sector is allowed free rein to bend us over and have their way with us. And they do have their way with us.

When Maine's power grid was a semi-public held entity that depended on the PUC (Public Utilities Commission), to set electric rates, the rates tended to remain static and were nowhere as volatile as they are now that the private sector controls the price of electricity.  We have allowed greedy out of state companies to dictate what we pay for electricity. By going private we have handed over an important right to the private sector. Private power is more expensive than public power.

"Residential customers of public power utilities pay 11% less than customers of investor-owned utilities – for the average U.S. household, that’s $176.79 saved each year or about $15 per month."   (publicpower.org)

Recently Maine went through a voting process to stop a private venture from finishing cutting a swath through our state to provide Massachusetts cheap Canadian hydro power. If it had continued, upon completion,$250 million would be paid to the state and Maine consumers could expect a pennies on the dollar decrease in their monthly bill. The honchos of the private electricity owners lauded this as proof of how much better they were at handling our electrical needs.

Yet, in the meantime, the greedy assholes who have us by our electrical short hairs asked and were given the right to raise rates in 2022. The rate hike would amount to an 83% increase according to some experts. 

The first salvo in re-gaining public control of our energy needs began when Maine voters shot down the corridor. More importantly, this issue put the spotlight on the Spanish based company, Iberdrola, who owns our power grid now. There are allegations of of all kinds of misdeeds and illegal Bull Shit that has been ongoing since Avangrid (Spanish owned) originally obtained CMP in 2008. The later shuffling around and merging of corporate interests into our current owner, Iberdrola, changed nothing. It actually got worse according to some of the accusers.

A well run and well monitored government agency is more likely to work for the benefit of all and be quicker to respond to public pressure than anything run by the private sector. We have more of a chance having our voices heard with the government than we do in some boardroom in Spain. Investor own public services are a terrible idea.

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

My Two Bucket Bench

I was out back sitting on my two bucket bench this morning sipping coffee and chastising Maggie once again for finding another disgusting Nature treat in the yard. She was not having any of it. She laid down some thirty feet away from me, placed the leaf covered delicacy between her paws and began to gnaw on it. And then she had the gall to look up at me with her "You're not the boss of me" stare.

I was almost angry enough to get off my two bucket bench and ..... No. Instead, I turned on my come hither voice and finally, on the fourth or fifth 'Maggie Come", she dropped the treat and meandered in my direction, being careful to not look me in the eye. She knew. ............ Yeah, she knew.

I got her to sit within arm's reach and after much cajoling, she turned her head and faced me. I launched into the same speech I always launched when she stuck an ugly bit of something or other in her maw. Using hand gestures and injecting several "Look at me's", I finally gave up. Her vacant eyes told me all those wasted words did not strike a chord with her. For her part, Maggie was satisfied it was over and she immediately found her recent tidbit and laid down facing away from me to enjoy it without recrimination. She knew I was all hat and no cattle. Damn dog.

I went back to enjoying my two day old coffee and the roach from last night and shifting my attention to something else. Problem was I had made the mistake of watching too much news this morning. Watching the news is like passing an accident. I never want to look, yet I always do. My mind immediately refocused on the latest nonsense and dysfunction being dreamed up by our all stars in DC. I had recently promised myself to not let them back into my head, yet there they were, once again worming their way to the top of my attention span. 

I could not let that happen. I had been working too hard lately to free myself from the media's insidious grip on me. The news industry was nothing but a collective of  peddlers and purveyors of the words, ideas and actions of evil people who did the bidding of the really evil people ensconced behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms. The media was the gate protecting the gated community of the unadulterated information from being exposed without the proper twist and pat on the head from the moneyed elite.

I often have trouble emptying my mind. More often than not, my mind is only empty when it shouldn't be. But this morning I concentrated and while I did not empty it, I did succeed in distracting it. 

I looked down on the reclaimed board sitting on the two reclaimed buckets I have been using as lawn furniture these last many years. How long have I had this particular set. Ten years? Twenty years? I could not remember. But I knew it was a long time. 

As I sat and dug for when I had first put a board on two joint compound buckets, I realized that I could remember using a variety of them in the early 1980s when I had a good sized garden producing more vegetables than our two or three dozen boxes of caning jars could handle. I remembered also when I put this particular set together. It was in 2004 when I hacked my secret garden out of the pucker brush on the Southeast side of the property. 

Suddenly my angst over news and events I had no power over disappeared and I relaxed. Life goes on no matter what happens out there and focusing on the bench I was sitting on was the most important thing in my life at that moment.

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

Friday, December 03, 2021

Her Majesty Has a Play Date

Right after I fed Maggie this morning we went out back so she could do her morning dog thing. Poop, pee and fart around smelling stuff. It was finally a typical day for this time of the year. The wind was up and the temperature was in the upper teens to low twenties. 

Maggie bolted out of the back door and began her routine. The wind blasted me in the face and I realized it was not tee shirt weather anymore.

"About time", I thought. 

The morning ritual was moving along with Maggie uncharacteristically keeping to her business and not finding some distraction to prolong our time outside. It was damn cold. The wind was blowing up my ass and I only had one thin short sleeved layer on. I was grateful she seemed to be on the same page as I was. Take care of business and get back into the house.

But no. Suddenly Maggie stiffened into her hunting dog stance. Her nose spiked up in the air and her nostrils flexed in and out as she took in as much of the scent as possible. Any thought of pooping was put on hold until she had investigated this incursion into her territory. She took off full tilt boogie into the pucker brush out back that formed the border between my property and the new neighbor's huge field. She loved nothing better than running at full speed anywhere. I caught glimpses of her as she dashed through the leafless brush and out onto the neighbor's field. 

A second later an explosion of turkeys took flight to escape this well known threat to their composure. A rafter of summer fattened turkeys taking flight is an impressive sight. For her part, Maggie stopped, sat, and watched the turkeys fly away. She was satisfied. She had done what she came to do. Chased those turkeys off her property. 

Now it was onto her next favorite thing. Eating the turkey poop left behind. Its always best when eaten fresh. Or so she informed me when I attempted to command her to stop.

She promised she would return to her regal ways once we were back in the house.

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