Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I am not a flag waving, standing at attention, patriotic American. The Vietnam war ruined that for me.
It is quite obvious that a country based on capitalism sees its citizens as something to be manipulated.
Don’t get me wrong; America has more personal freedom then many countries and less than others, but a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we ain’t.
We are offered the allusion of a democracy; but if that were true the President would not be elected by an Electoral College or appointed by a Supreme Court.
Capitalism creates a plutocracy, where only the wealthy, or those supported by the wealthy, can afford to run for public office; a National Chamber of Commerce under a red white and blue flag.
And, a plutocracy is what we have always been.
Looking at the appointments of Donald Trump (President-not-elected) the country is on the final step of metamorphosing into a business organization, where the organization – the bottom line - openly takes precedence over people.
Just my observation
We got a snow last night. Not much. Just enough that I can see deer tracks in the driveway this morning.
I haven’t watched the news on TV since Trump was elected – and I find I don’t miss the aggravation. I do read the major paper in the state, The Portland Press Herald, and the local on-line newspaper. I occasionally scan the news app on Windows 10. At my age, I don’t want to download the bad karma that twenty-four-hour that TV news rants produce.
My wife and I are now in our winter comfort mode. My fire wood in in, all maintenance projects completed, the freezer is full, no major obligations in the near future; so it is time to kick back and enjoy the Maine winter and each other.
I recently bought a vacuum food sealer and it has changed the way we shop. Prior, we would shop for no more than a week. When we bought meat too far in advance it was always freezer burned by the time we were ready to use it.
|A nice piece of salmon vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer|
Now every time we go shopping we buy two or three pieces of meat over and above our need, and vacuum seal them. As it happens, we have stocked our freezer ahead for a couple of months without putting out a large lump-sum of money – and more importantly the meat seems fresh when we are ready to use it.
We paid less than $50 for the Vacuum sealer and we buy 100 foot rolls of bags for around $25 on e-bay.
We have all our holiday shopping for each other done. We celebrate the first five days of winter, exchanging a gift each day beginning on the winter solstice.
I love the fall – but for me, the winter is my favorite time of year.
A Wednesday Morning Ramble
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
We moved back to Maine from Kentucky in 1999. Before winter set in we made our first pilgrimage down to L. L. Bean in Freeport where my wife bought some winter gear and I bought a pair of L. L. Bean boots.
I had Bean boots before, but got rid of them during our stay in Kentucky.
In 2005 I was back teaching in Alaska, and found the treads on my boots were getting thin. I sent them back to Beans and they put new rubber bottoms on the leather tops for $40. About 2012 I sent the boots back again and Beans put new rubber bottoms on the leather.
Bean boots have soft rubber soles which give you great traction in wet and snowy weather; but with constant use the tread wears thin.
I wear my boots almost every day during the winter, so I put a lot of wear on them.
I figure I can get another year of two use before I zombie them again.
A good pair of L. L. Bean boots can last a life time.
Three years ago I walked out of my back porch after a freezing rain. My feet hit the second step and I went horizontal landing hard on my back, partially on the steps. I lay there for a minute stunned not sure if I was injured. I was bruised and sore, but otherwise all right.
That following summer I decided I needed to do something to prevent ice buildup on the steps causing me perhaps a more serious injury.
I had a rubber door mat with green plastic grass inside my back hall to clean the snow off my feet before entering the house. I cut the door mat into sections to fit my back steps. To keep the door mat from sliding I placed rubber shelf liner underneath each tread and then stapled them to the steps with a hand stapler.
Last year this worked fine during the Maine winter. I would sweep the treads with a broom if snow accumulated, but otherwise they were care free and worked great, giving me traction when using my back door.
The treads are still good for another year so I decided to share the idea.
Enjoy the winter
Friday, November 25, 2016
I have taken some flack, and rightly so, when I have blogged about people being poorly educated. I did not mean it condescendingly.
There is no one right view, and we don't have to all agree.
I did not have the opportunity to go to college until I was 42, and I was not poorly educated. I had a good basic education coming out of high school, and I paid attention and learned from life experiences. College definitely did not make any smarter, but it did give me the opportunity to explore subjects I had no prior knowledge of - it broadened my horizons.
A person can attend four, six or even eight years of college and if they deny climate change and believe in Noah's Ark, they are poorly educated.
The people I have referred to as the poorly educated are the ones that are fact free: people that relinquish their logical reasoning to follow, unquestioningly, charismatic con men spouting a mixture of truths, half truths and outright ridiculous lies. They never question. They repeat talking points without having any idea of the meaning. They use phrases like Make America Great Again and We want our freedom back, but when ask to explain, they are at a loss.
Perhaps ignorant of facts would be a better phrase than poorly educated. If I have offended, I apologize.
Keith Olbermann is running a pod cast on GQ call The Resistance. I am absolutely deflated and disgusted by the results of the Presidential election. But I am also old and in the last years of my life, so perhaps I look at things differently.
The outrage is in me; but we need to recognize that the actual root of our anger is not Donald Trump and the political whores of the Republican party; it is not something that we can defeat with outrage.
Fifty percent of this nation vehemently supported and defended the racist, homophobic, misogynistic and inappropriate views of a Donald Trump. These people are poorly educated, mostly religious, and get their information from right wing radio and TV shows and from churches and religious communities of like mind.
The goal cannot be to subjugate fifty percent of the nation to our views through bluster, criticism and outrage.
I am not saying we should not loudly complain and decry every loss of liberty that will result during the Trump Presidency; but we should recognize that what has happened has long term effects and the problem is greater than one man and one Party.
The solution, if there is one, is to better educate children – support education beyond high school; aggressively confront religious ignorance wherever it exists; continue to decry intolerance and get involved in local politics.
The nation is divided. Ignorance and religion have now usurped control. There is no quick fix – the damage is done.
Liberals must become more demonstrative. Blogging is easy, but we must also regularly publish in the editorial section of newspapers and on line news outlets; we must become active and vocal at city and town and county and school board meetings.
Our object should not be confrontation with half the population, but questioning policies and seeking compromise.
The results of a Donald Trump Presidency will last for decades. If this Nation is to return to some form of a Liberal Democracy, it will be through long term efforts of liberal people to systematically confront religious ignorance and social intolerance; and to become involved politically and to ensure that their children and grandchildren are properly educated.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Sunday, November 20, 2016
I bought my wife a Garrett ACE – 150 metal detector.
Yesterday was the first time detecting. We have waited for her to regain her strength after her cancer treatments, and for the weather to cool enough that the bugs would not be a bother. We went to a place about three miles from our house, on the Sandy River, used by swimmers and kayakers. We spent an hour detecting and found one penny.
After detecting we drove to a country diner about eight miles north. We had fish and chips and the bill came to $20.00 – It actually only cost us $19.99 as we used our metal detecting find to help pay for lunch.
We are now officially Treasure Hunters
|Perhaps a little older|
Four years of Trump on Saturday Night Live and Obama/Joe memes are the only good things to look forward to in a Trump Presidency.
Friday, November 18, 2016
I always liked Keith Olbermann when he was on MSNBC. I still miss his show. He is now running a series on GQ that is Resist Trump.
I just happened to see this on YouTube and watched it. Pretty angry stuff - and I agree with him.
Today I just had a physical and my blood pressure was 116/68 and everything checked out good. I would like to keep it that way. I live a pretty active life for my age: I work out on my Total Gym at least three times a week, walk the road a mile-and-a-half most days when it is not deer season or snow banks to contend with, I meditate, heat with fire wood, shovel snow when necessary and have a great sex life.
I don't want to add this level of stress to my life; but if you are younger and want to get on the Resistance train - more power to you.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Yesterday my wife and I went to Barns and Noble Book Store in Augusta. One of the books I saw was full of sarcastic quips and snide combacks (I don't remember the name of the book.) My wife told me it was no use buying the book because when the situation occurred I wouldn't remember any of them anyway. And she was right.
I look at all the memes that everyone puts on line and think how I would like to remember this one or that one for a quick comeback when talking to Republicans - but as soon as I turn the computer off they are gone.
I bemoan my lack of recall; but my wife says it is nothing new - I have always been this way.
So I have been thinking that I would like to go back and do some mind puzzles to try and improve my memory - but I can't remember what I did with the book.
I think my hard drive is full
But what the hell: I'm old.
That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
IT'S GOOD TO BE ALIVE
We had breakfast at McDonald's this morning. My wife got her hair cut and she looks great. She has made a speedy recovery from her cancer treatments. Our cats are lovable company. I have a bottle of vodka in the fridge, a bottle of Jameson in the cupboard and wine under the island. My fire wood is in, we have books to read. I am looking forward to the first snow fall. And it looks like marijuana will be legal in Maine.
Sending it to you
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Saturday, November 12, 2016
My best friend died a number of years ago. He was like the older brother I never had, and I looked up to him. We hunted, fished, camped, canoed and got drunk together. I still miss him.
After his death his son and I became close. He looked up to me as a connection to his dad. We hunted, fished, camped, canoed, road motorcycles and got drunk together. He is like a little brother.
When I retired from the military I went to college and then went to Alaska for a number of years. I got a graduate degree in Alaska. I am totally committed to my wife and don’t do the activities I did before – I don’t do anything that she and I can’t enjoy together.
Now I get together with my friend and it is strained. We have almost nothing in common except memories. I am the one that has changed. He works in a fiberglass mill, he owns an assault rifle, I am sure he voted for Trump, he still does all the things that we use to do – and I somewhat miss it. But most of all I miss the friendship and closeness we once had. I feel certain that my attending college was the first step that separated us. I can remember as an enlisted man in the military my resentment toward officers who held a position over me simply because of a few years in college.
It bothers me that my little brother somehow looks at me as elitist, possibly feeling that I look down on him. I don’t think we can ever cross the divide that now separates us – it would require me going back to who I use to be; but I love him and miss him.
I see a correlation between my relationship with my little brother and politics in America.
The Democratic Party constantly made snobbish comparisons of college educated to non-college educated people voting for Hillary.
I am sure that education arrogant statements turned off a lot of people, both Republicans and Democrats, who didn’t have the advantage of attending college – It struck me as elitist. It gave the impression that Democrats feel that college educated people are smarter than non-college educated people.
The Democratic Party’s aura is elitism. If we are to succeed as a party in the future, we have to bring it down and say it is not about us, but about the issues we believe in.
There is a divide between Democrats and Republicans that may never be bridged; but we can stop turning off possible crossover voters with condescending statements and attitudes.
Our eyes should be on the election 2018 and on state and local elections.
Where am I going with this? Hell I don’t know.
Friday, November 11, 2016
In a state of 1.3 million people with 750 thousand voters Marijuana Referendum passed by 6,620 votes (50.2 to 49.8 %.)
- Maine went for Clinton
- Minimum wage increase
- Money for Schools
- Money for infrastructure
- No on background checks for gun sales between private citizens.
- And yes on some proportional voting scheme giving voters second and third choices - don't know much about it but it seems fraught with possible problems.
Native Americans venerate age – elders. It is my experience that age does not confer wisdom – if you were a stupid person throughout your life, you don’t suddenly become sage just because you age.
That said, I am offering some advice as an elder.
Everyone whose blog I read and everyone who reads my blog is in a state of confusion and stress because of the election results.
We need a perspective and I offer this:
I am on the back side of my seventh decade. I may not live to see the end of a Trump Presidency. I do not choose to spend my last precious few years stewing and discontent because of things beyond my control – a Donald Trump Presidency. These are years with the woman I love, in this beautiful world that I will never get back.
Life is constant change. To survive you must adapt to change. It is only through accepting change that you can live in harmony and balance.
Buddha stated four truths:
1. A life of discontent is like a wheel out of kilter.
2. Discontent originates with desire.
3. If we will identify the cause of our desire and move away from it, we can bring life back into balance
4. The Buddha offers eight attitudinal perspectives to move beyond discontent and live a fuller life amidst change.
Buddha’s enlightenment was realizing the beauty of a young girl, the refreshing taste of water and the contentment in a bowl of rice.
Four hundred years before Christ the Buddha told people to recognize the things you can change and change them if need be; but also recognize the things you can’t change and accept them and move on.
It is time to move on.
I cut wood
I carried water
I cut wood
I carried water
Today it is fifty degrees and windy. I am going to have breakfast, kiss my wife, fill the bird feeders and split some more firewood. This afternoon I will have a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, perhaps take a nap with my wife and this evening I have a new book to read.
Two books I might suggest:
Buddhism Plain and Simple and Buddhism Is Not What You Think both by Steve Hagen.
Or perhaps watch a good zombie flick
Thursday, November 10, 2016
All the news programs are thinking conventional, politically accepted reasons for the Trump blowout. They are ignoring the elephant in the room.
Most rank and file Republicans see the Democratic voters as elitist and it doesn’t help when news programs start expressing Democratic electorate as college educated vs Republican non-college educated electorate.
The fact is, that a good percentage of Republican voters are poorly informed and somewhat fact free – these people gravitate toward the Republican Party.
After the announcement that Trump had exceeded the 270 electoral College vote a reporter asked one of the women celebrating what a Donald Trump presidency would mean. The woman answered that he will give our country back. The reporter asked what that meant and she was stumped, then answered: he will make America great again and give us back our freedom. She had no idea of Trump’s policies.
The Democratic and Republican Parties are almost equal in registered voters, with the democrats usually exceeding by one or two percent.
However, around thirty-five percent of eligible voters do not vote. Many of these are elderly or infirm, many are young people just out of high school and some feel not accepted because of race or poverty; but a goodly number are poorly educated white red necks living at or near the poverty level who fly their rebel flags or American flags, are racially prejudice, love their guns, feel superior to women and view neither party as something they can identify with. They look at Hillary Clinton as uppity bitch, and Mitt Romney a rich asshole. These dropouts don’t speak the same language or think the same as the people put up for election by either party – so they don’t vote.
Until Donald Trump.
The garbage Trump spouted connected with this group and they attended his rallies, registered and voted, some for the first time.
Reporters keep referring to the lack of jobs and the anger of middle class white men as the excuse for Trumps win, without addressing the point that a good percent of this country are not bright and easily manipulated, and they vote Republican and a new disenfranchised group has joined them. Particularly in this election many of the most extreme elements were tapped into and motivated by Trump’s outlandish behavior.
Like Brexit, most of the Trump supporters have no idea the consequences of what they have done.
What can Democrats do?
Probably nothing: you can’t fix stupid.
But perhaps it is time to go back to ZEN and take a breath.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
Last night rather than watch the last forty-eight hours of election mania my wife and I watched A Million Ways to Die in The West on the FX channel.
Before the show began the rating warning was shown stating the movie was for adults only and contained violence, nudity, sexual situations and language. In other words, let prudes and parents be warned.
I don’t find language in stories offensive. If you don’t like the script you can close the book or change the channel.
The language in this film was colorful – but there was one thing that I found ridiculous: while the censors that determine what we all should be exposed to allowed butt, asshole, pussy, dick, balls, shit, damn, blowjob, suck a dick, dick in the asshole and tits; every time the script called for the word fuck it was muted out or replaced with screw.
What the fuck is wrong with the word fuck? Why is fuck the pinnacle of ‘dirty words?’ And why the fuck do censors need to suppress words from a film preceded by the warning that the film contains adult language?
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Tune out. Avoid the news. Go and vote on Tuesday; but wait until Wednesday to tune in and freak out. If Trump wins we will have an egotistic child at the reins of government and if Hillary wins the GOP claims they will start impeachment proceedings the day she is inaugurated.
All you will hear on the news between now and Wednesday is opinions and conjecture – it will destroy four days of your life with tension and anxiety. You will never get those days back.
If you have ever been interested in meditation this is the time to start. I recommend the book Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen.
Some alternative suggestions:
· Watch old movies
· Read a book
· Break out some board games (how long has it been?)
· Take long walks
· Smoke some grass
· Start a new hobby
· Work out at the gym
· Write your memoirs
· Take a course at Kahn Academy – it is online and free.
· Move to Canada
Or just turn the fucking TV off and watch Netflix.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Yesterday my wife and I visited Barns and Noble Book Store in Augusta, Maine. As you first walk inside the door you are met with a display of Nook electronic book readers.
My wife and I are both of the generation that appreciates real books. Somehow reading off a screen doesn’t have the same cozy feel as turning the pages in a real book; and book cases, with books I have read and may read again, are a pleasing sight for me.
On the way home we were talking about the generational difference in the acceptance of electronic everything. I said I did not believe most young people today will grow up to be novel readers in the future - if writing contains more than 140 characters it is not likely to keep their attention – they would rather see a movie than read a book.
My wife made a point I had not considered. A change to electronic book readers may be environmental friendly. Forrest across the globe are receding. Paper production is a large harvester of trees and the byproducts of paper mills are major polluter of water and air.
I acknowledge that the time of paper books may be passing. I know this sounds like a cynical old man, but I still prefer paper books and am willing to leave the environment for the next generation to clean up.
Not the Nook
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I don’t give a rat’s ass about basketball. I have never played basketball and would never watch it. To me it is on the same interest scale as golf. I can only name three basketball players: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All three seem good men, but I have a special feeling for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who like Mohammed Ali, had the grit to openly flaunt criticism and declare his faith to Islam.
Even though Ali and Abdul-Jabbar were athletes, I feel they paved the way for a President named Barack Hussein Obama.
Something I do care about is Sherlock Holmes.
I first read Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Speckled Band when I was about fourteen and in high school. It was the only Holmes book in the school library and I read it many times.
As I got older I would purchase any Holmes story I came across and amassed a small collection (this of course was before the internet, and book stores were not that available.) Finally, I was able to find and purchase Baring-Gould’s annotated Sherlock Holmes – all the stories – and I read and reread the stories until the book was (and is) well worn.
I am a member of the Occupants of the Empty House, a scion society of the Baker Street Irregulars, and I have written a number of monographs on Sherlock Holms.
Where am I going with this and what does basketball have to do with Sherlock Holmes?
Yesterday my wife and I went to Augusta. We ate at Longhorn Steak house, shopped at Home Depot and made our regular pilgrimage to Barns and Noble Book Store.
I dislike Holmes knock off stories even when written by a favorite writer like Stephen King. However, while browsing the mystery section I came across Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. My interest was piqued and I bought the book.
Last night I read the first seventy-five pages and I am hooked. If you are a Holmes fan you might want to take a look at Mycroft Holmes - though not true to the canon it is still a ripping good read.