Thursday, August 31, 2023

Buried Racial Hatred

Events exposing buried racial hatred are on the increase. They are no longer just occasional moments of ugliness scattered here and there in the USA. They have become a pervasive part of our new political and social landscape.

We all knew the hate and discontent was there, but as long as folks kept their irrational angers,fears, and prejudices to themselves and others of like mind, the country was cool with it. We were content to allow it to steep, slowly build to a boil and erupt from time to time in a sporadic moment of insanity. What were once occasional fits of madness are now regular events found in every corner of the nation.

The intolerance that is still part of us has exposed itself and is fitting into and changing the social and political landscape to something looking very much uglier and meaner than what we were used to back in the last quarter of the 20th century. 

Our shift from a more tolerant and civil society into the anxious, fearful and hateful society we seem trapped in now began with 9-1-1. That is when most of us were knocked off our centers and many of us began to embrace more radical outlooks on the world as we knew it. Dormant negatives of our character rushed in to play a more dominant role in our response to everything. The world around us had not changed as much as our view of it had. This enabled the ever ready purveyors of sleaze and evil to push their agendas by using lies and exaggerations to enhance our fear and foreboding. 

I am reminded of this by an incident that played out in April, 2023 in Jonesboro, a town up Downeast Maine on the coast. After firing some shots in the air a man  named O'Brien, verbally accosted an interracial couple who were walking their dog on the private road that passed O'Brien's house.

The quote that struck me and indicated how emboldened the closet racists have become was:

"O’Brien added that he ‘should be able to get away with shooting one [racial epithet] as long as he didn’t have to bring him in to tag him,’ ......... "

Because of the obvious racist factor of this interaction, the Maine State Attorney General jumped on it and the man was found guilty of a crime. Since no physical violence actually occurred, at least the man was convicted and the crime made the news.  Good outcome I guess, but I would like to have seen Mr. O'Brien be charged with a felony, not a misdemeanor.

The sad part though, is the realization that racial , gender, and social bias run deeper and are more widespread than even I had thought. I thought our country was heading in the right direction. Now, I am not so sure. Seems all we did was bury our hate just deep enough to not be seen and shallow enough that it did not take much to whip it out to reveal our true selves. 

 When the pervasive evil and hate we embrace now finally peaks, we are in for a long period of recovery once we are on the other side. I don't think the self inflicted damage to our nation is fatal. I prefer to consider what we are going through as a necessary purging and relocation of our center. Where that center ends up depends on how many of us actually give a fuck.

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


Marvin Gaye's song, "What's Goin On", seems a natural fit for this post. At least for me it is. The song evokes a sense of bewilderment about Life at that moment. I am certainly bewildered about what's goin on.

Monday, August 28, 2023

99 Words on Weather

Yesterday, Jacki Sue in Texas, mentioned on Facebook she was enjoying a rainstorm for the first time in months.

Comments from other mid-western areas and one from California talked about droughts and intense temperatures that plagued their locales.

I made no comment. I just couldn’t.

Summer in Maine has been different, but not as different as elsewhere in the country. Temperatures and humidity are higher, but tolerable. If anything, we have had more rain this summer than usual. My basement had water in it until mid-July.

Mother Nature’s capricious use of her wrath just proves Life is not fair.


The first tune I checked out was my only choice. It's the video that really makes the tune work. Here is an instrumental by Annemieke van Leeuwen. It is called "Mother Nature's Anger".

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Sadly, just the Same Shit, Different Day

I guess there was another mass shooting yesterday down in Jacksonville, Florida.

 ........ SSDD. 

I would have missed it until tomorrow except I watched the head cop from Jacksonville give his blow by blow version of the tragedy that unfolded. The whole incident only took 11 minutes he said. In that 11 minutes, 4 people lost their lives to gun violence. Throw in the racial motive to the mix and what we have is just another garden variety - white people acting badly against those folks they harbor some kind of clueless and senseless hatred for.

I would not even be posting about it except I was struck by something Sheriff T.K. Waters said while defending the Gun Rights side of the out of control gun stupidity we have going on right now. Don't get me wrong, I think folks should be allowed to own guns, if only because there are so many guns already loose in the hands of our citizens , any law that might be passed restricting them would not work and just anger the crotch tugging NRA boneheads even more.

The sheriff was asked if there had been any red flags raised by this 20 something racist before the shootings. He said the kid had no record and no indications of mental illness. The guns used had been purchased legally. He went on to defend the gun lobbies by saying basically it wasn't the guns that killed those folks, rather it was the madman behind the gun. I am so tired or hearing this kind of mealy mouthed response to the other mealy mouthed accusations from the anti gun crowd. Neither side seems able to even consider some kind of compromise to make our streets a tad safer. All or nothing for both of them.

Sheriiff Waters was then asked another of the stupid questions the media always asks in the immediate aftermath of an incident like this. 

"Was there anything that could have been done to have kept this from happening?' 

A look of exasperation came over his face. Then he said, "We did everything we could,' quickly following up with, "We do everything we can".

I call bullshit. The sheriff is wrong. The powers that be are not doing what they can to create safer spaces for us to live in. Law enforcement is a reactionary force, not a preemptive force. Any preemptive measures have to be created in the legislatures, state and national. Cops clean up messes, they don't stop them from happening. Only education, public support and common sense shown by both sides will slow down the madness.

The Gun totin assholes who consider owning guns as the true sign of freedom have not done shit to get some control of a situation that has been totally out of control since the day buying assault rifles were once again allowed to be owned by idiots whose only knowledge of guns came from TV and Internet Games. So spare me the crap about its not the gun, its the person shooting the gun. Stop claiming that if we pass laws the problem will fix itself. Both sides of this issue have their respective heads up their respective asses.

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


"Another One Bites the Dust", by Queen seems appropriate. But then so does The Avett Brothers and their more up to date, "Bang, Bang" really nails my current feelings about the stupidity surrounding guns.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

A Tale of Two Knives

I guess I was given my first pen knife when I was five or six. If memory serves, it is the small broken one I saved and is now on the wall over my work bench in the basement. It just wasn't rugged enough for my clueless and brutal treatment of it as a youngster.

I have consistently had a pocket knife of some kind on my person ever since. I have gone through an impressive number and different types of knives over the years. Some I broke trying to force the knife to punch above its weight. But I think most of the knives I have owned, I lost or they were stolen. ....... I know it was You, Bob W., who stole my brand new Leatherman back in the mid 1980's. You're an asshole Bob. I hope it broke on you, you low life.

So anyway, I have owned many blades. "Shrade" and its subsidiary "Uncle Henry" were and still are my favorite pocket knives. Uncle Henry knives had a "Lose it, Free Replacement" policy I took advantage of several times over the years.

The knife in the image on the right I bought in the late 1980's down to Springvale Hardware. I bought it because it was the perfect length to cut up 3" foam insulation. At 35 plus years old, it was showing some wear. 

About six weeks ago I was sure I had finally lost this knife also. 

It had been MIA since ....... well, a long time. I decided I would try to find another new one............... Problem ....... Shrade stopped manufacturing them 20 plus years ago. I hit the used market on eBay and found an outfit selling knives that had been confiscated at airports in the Lone Star State. I spotted the one on the left, ordered it, paid too much and 3 days later it landed on my doorstep.

Five minutes, maybe ten minutes later I found the old friend in a spot that defied logic. I must have been flying high when I decided a bookshelf 7 feet off the ground was a good spot to leave my knife. But there it was and now I have twins. ........... 

The one I bought out of Texas looks better, but it actually is not as solid as my old friend. The blade is a tad sloppy and it came through with an edge that had been insulted with a grinding wheel. Almost looked like saw blades. Took me some time to hand hone it into some semblance of usable dignity. I think it winked at me when I was done.

After I was finished with the new arrival, I touched up the edge on my old friend. I don't think I have ever seen it with a sharper edge. 

Nothing quite like a freshly sharpened blade to make a young boy smile.

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


Only one song came to mind. I owned this song on a 45 RPM record I special ordered at a record store in Tampa, Florida. Please enjoy "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin from 1958. Turned up to Wow is the best level.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

The Noise of Mass Insanity

I haven't posted much lately because well, I have had more to say than I could sort out and make sense enough of  to not come across as an over the edge wacka-doodle who is sure we are all fucked with no help in sight. 

Imagine a dirty, scruffy old man with a long beard, whose out of control mullet hairdo gives the impression he might just be a retired Tweaker who survived many years in a Meth Lab. He is clothed in what once may have been a nice bathrobe and is standing on a wooden soap box in Central Park. 

Through missing and rotted teeth, he verbally accosts anyone who happens by with doomsday predictions about where their souls will end up if they don't bring Jesus into their hearts. The man's eyes will take on a glow as he beseeches the Lord with upraised arms to use his mighty wrath and smite these sinful heathens down so that only the blessed and faithful will be around for the Rapture. ....................

Yeah, that is how I see myself when I want to write lately about anything remotely political or religious. 

There is so much rabid stupidity floating around everywhere in this country, the sane among us have turned off, or at least turned down the moronic rhetoric that is poisoning our interactions with each other. And though the media knows that most of us are tired of the nonsense, they continue to pile the useless and destructive bullshit on us 24/7, day in, day out. 

Yeah, I could turn off the noise, and frankly I have turned it off to the best of my ability. But it is hard to not at least peek at the million car pile up that is our country at the moment. I sure hope some sanity returns before I leave this rock full of assholes. ........ I won't hold my breath.

Ferchrisakes people;

 What about "Keepin it 'tween the Ditches" do you not understand?


So what music might go with the mass insanity that is playing out coast to coast here in the USA? ....Hmm...........

A song written over 50 years ago for a different set of problems is still pertinent to the insanity we put ourselves through today. My whole life has been filled with people pissing on each other's shoes, blaming each other for the sadness and hurt that was mostly self inflicted.

It is not me, it is them. ...........When it's really all of us group groping our way to planet wide suicide if we don't watch out.

Here is "For What Its Worth", Buffalo Springfield, released in 1966 I think.

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Final Touche'

Caleb and a small crew showed up this morning at 7:30 AM. There wasn't much left to do on the new septic system but some aesthetic touches - reseeding the back yard and the path the trucks chewed up as they came and went.

While Caleb walked around with huge pruning shears, nipping off the few small roots that had managed to escape to the light of day, one of his crew walked around with a seed spreader flinging out the seeds that would create the new back yard. 

Caleb backed a low trailer piled high with bales of straw and what I assumed was a machine that spread the straw. By 8:00 AM, they were done and out of our yard forever. 

At 9:30 AM the predicted rain came. A steady, wind free rain; the kind of soaker seeds need to get started.

I am impressed with the job Caleb and his crew did. They had to work around a lot of rain, which created intractable conditions for several days. There were unforeseen glitches Caleb took in stride and handled. No whining, No excuses, he just kept at it and made the whole thing easy for us to deal with. 

The folks who make up "Caleb Chessie Excavation" are a credit to their profession. 

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


Joe Cocker is always able to cover famous tunes and end up owning them by the time the song ends. Please enjoy his cover of " Don't Let Me be Misunderstood".

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Days 3 & 4 - Back on Track & Done

Having spent a good number of years laboring in the building trades, I am well aware of the unforeseen hiccups that can plague a work site. 

The hit our well casing took is one such hiccup, as is the extra material Caleb had to bring in to build a passable path for the many 10 yard dump loads of material that was needed to first clear out the crap and then fill it back in with new crushed stone and sand. 

There has been a constant stream of 10 wheeler dump trucks. Caleb keeps his equipment clean and sharp looking. He has at a Peterbilt and a Kenworth, both with tag axles. Nice looking trucks that are packing some classy touches and bling.

I saw our hawk today while the crew was on lunch break. I spotted it sitting in a tree overlooking the new leach field. Excellent. A good sign I think. When we get the clover and indigenous wild flowers covering things, there will be some good hunting ground while affording the smaller critters some cover, evening up the odds a tad.

When the new site plan was drawn up, the engineer who designed the system, called for the pipe exiting the house to be raised at least 12 inches to insure a better pitch than the old one had. Not sure what the big deal was, the old system was not prone to backing up. Regardless, it was a "must do", and it was done. 

Memories of the various glitches of the first few days melted away as Caleb and his guys finished around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. There's some minor this and that still left, but we are now pooping in a new, larger, up to date, CEO approved and ready to rock septic system. 

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


I am too beat to think about what tune to add. So.......... Here is "All along the Watchtower" as played by musicians from all over the planet.......... "Playing for Change". Again, on this version, it is a hard rule that the volume needs to be close to "Max", or all the way to "Hurt", then dialed back a notch.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Day Two - First Glitch

After all the progress on Day 1, at the end of it, the excavator backed into my well casing. The impact cracked the casing at the junction of the first two pieces.

Surprisingly, I was not upset at all. Shit happens, and the approach to the back yard is tight. Caleb assured me he would take care of it.  And he did. He called Southern Maine Pump and the guy came out and welded the casing ASAP.

At this point of the process of replacing one septic system for a new and improved one, all I thought about was the process. I was just another rubber necker blinded by the show that is excavation.

Yesterday afternoon as I sat on my bucket bench out back next to the compost pile, I sparked up a doob and contemplated the awesome display of terra-forming taking place on the other side of the rock wall. I do not know exactly what it is about watching big equipment work, but I think every male in existence enjoys watching those machines. And honestly when I drove big equipment and operated big equipment, I enjoyed it then right up until I didn't anymore.

But yesterday, that enjoyment changed to something different as I looked upon the destruction to the mini eco-system that had grown over the last 75 years behind my house. Who knows what creatures, and how many, had to find alternate housing as their home was chopped down, dug up, and hauled away. 

I felt sad. 

Turkeys used to roost there. Maggie would occasionally stir them up and chase them if they slept too long in the morning. Many winters ago, a herd of deer yarded up there several winters in a row. And recently, a hawk who I think built a nest in one of the old pines along the wall has been MIA now since last Friday. 

Displacement happens, but the positive improvement to my personal life is tempered by the fact I had to kick critters out. 

Oh Well.


The only tune I could think of was Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi". Just substitute the parking lot with leach field and it might make sense.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Day One

Some years back in the early 2000's, a neighbor complained that our leach field was leaking onto their property. I pointed out to my neighbors that they were responsible as they were the ones who pushed a huge boulder onto our leach field in the early 1970s. I also intimated that fixing it was a good idea, but that I expected them to share in some of the cost of the repair or replacement. In that the leak from the field was rather small, I figured they would get back to me regarding how to proceed, but they never did until........

Fast forward to a few months back. I get a call from our local CEO (Code Enforcement Officer). My neighbor had made an official complaint. They wanted the problem fixed and they were denying any fault for causing the failure in the first place. 

The CEO asked me questions. How old was our septic system? How big was our tank? Blah, blah blah. Long story short, he and I decided replacing the septic system was the only way to go. I had no proof of my allegations other than a conversation I had back in the 1990's with the fellow who was operating the bulldozer that pushed the huge boulder onto our land. 

I told the CEO I would find someone to install a new septic system and promised to keep him in the loop.

The first thing we had to do was have a site plan drawn up and then pull a permit down to the Town Hall. A couple of weeks and a sizable chunk of change later, we were ready to hire someone.

Seems here in my corner of Maine, there's an excavating operation hiding behind every tree. Sifting through word of mouth recommendations, we found Caleb C. Chessie. Big man with big equipment and he's located just a couple of miles away. He told us, sure he would love to install a new septic system. Quoted us a price and promised to get on it by the end of May.

Yesterday, August 7, they began taking down trees. In only three hours a crew of three guys had over 25 trees down and cut up into truck-able logs. Ten of the trees were white pines 75 to 100 years old. What you see in the picture is what our back yard looks like now.

To be continued ................................


I am assuming you saw this song or one like it coming. Here is "Construction Machines", by The Bounce Patrol. ............... Enjoy!

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Should Moms Be in Charge

 From the Book of Genesis via

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man (Adam), and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:21–23)

According to the tale of Mankind's creation as set down in the Holy Bible, God first created the heavens and our planet along with all its vegetative and geological knick knacks. He followed up with the creation of all the animals before he created the first being who would run this planet. Of course that being would be a man as it would be created in God's image because that was what God was looking at in his mirror at the time. This explains why Adam had to be white, male and modestly endowed with the appropriate equipment to spawn a species. 

God is represented as masculine. After all, men ran Heaven, so too it shall be on Earth. Besides, a woman could not have competently run this paradise. Women were created to be Man's bitches, serving his needs and bearing his children because well, God did not give women the intelligence needed to tame a world. Those abilities he bestowed on Adam and the men who would spring forth from his loins. Women bore offspring and kept the place tidy.

Hmm ...........................

As a man, I should be nodding my head here while I clean my Glock, chew on home cured jerky and tug at my crotch. Had I been raised in certain churches, I would have viewed this explanation of the universal power flow chart as logical and well thought through. Women were yucky and God knew what he was doing.

As it turns out ..............

I was raised by lazy WASP Episcopalians, who did their Christian duty to at least expose me to Christianity during my formative and pre-teen years.I was then set free to go it alone. Because of this, I spent some confusing years trying to balance the Evil I saw in the world against the notion of a benevolent Christian God who loved us because, well, he was our father ferchrisakes.

My first realization that the Good Book was full of shit was the notion that men should dominate the planet. In my family, my mother gave as good as she got. She made sure I knew that a woman's place should probably be a step ahead of men rather than the token step or two behind they had finally risen to in the 20th century.

The following fifty years have proven to me that if the Bible is Truth and God put our lives in the hands of Men, then God was/is an idiot. I am positive we would have had a much less painful evolution as a species if Moms had been in charge. 

Happy Sunday and please, at least on this seventh day, keep it 'tween the ditches ............


I have been wanting to use a tune by The big Push, a group from over the pond. Their front man and leader I guess is a fellow named Ren. They began as a busking band in Brighton,UK and now their music is everywhere. Sadly, Ren left the group I think and maybe at the same time he was bitten by a tick and came down with a vicious version of Lyme Disease.  I hear he is making music again.

Here a two-fer - Big Push with their cover of  "Praise You", by Fatboy Slim. And to just fill anyone interested on the song's roots, here is the original"Take Yo Praise", written and recorded by Camile Yarborough in 1975. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Climate Hell

The Climate Hell that was July began to ease over the weekend here in the southern pucker brush of Maine. The humidity has dropped to tolerable levels and the temperatures are moving in moderating directions. 

Now on August 1, I can breathe again, I can sleep again, I can look out through eyes not stinging from sweat and when I lick my lips I don't think I'm licking a salt shaker. Today , it is supposed to be the perfect Maine day; Sunny, low humidity, and temperatures here in Acton are supposed to stay in the low 70's F . I'm already well on my way to forgetting July.

Complaining about the weather was one of the first eternal truths of Human interactions when we conversed with only grunts, whistles, and hand motions. I am thinking the fact that we  have no control over the weather is what really drives the constant pissing and moaning. Too hot, too cold. Too dry, too wet. We constantly think the weather is better somewhere else. Well, today, here in Acton, it appears we own that tag, "somewhere else". This is the way Maine should be on August 1. Absolutely perfect.

I have hopes now we are entering a more normal flow of summer. I won't hold my breath.

Now days, the realization is finally settling in that the increase in ugly weather we are seeing around our globe is self inflicted for the most part. ........ Hmm...... Maybe more than the most part,  ....... but hey, Climate Change is here and what are we doing about it?

Not nearly enough. Matter of fact, seems the only thing we are good at is complaining about it.

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


The first song I thought of was "Here Comes the Sun", by The Beatles

So here it is.