Monday, November 30, 2009

Gators heading for SEC Championship game

Not too many people in my neck of the world care about the Florida Gators football team. But I do. I've been following the Gators ever since I became one, and that was more than a half century ago. Last Saturday the Gators beat in-state rival Florida State University to end their regular season undefeated and No. 1 in the national coaches' poll.

They will play Alabama next Saturday for the South Eastern Conference championship with a trip to the national championship, probably against Texas, on the line.

I was a student at UF back in 1958 and attended that very first game between the Gators and the FSU Seminoles. There was no question how that first game would end between a well-established program and a relatively new one, but it was a fun time anyway. Yes, the Gators won easily and, except for a couple of brief periods, have dominated the series.

I haven't mentioned the Gators too often here, but it was fun this time.

Meanwhile, Gator Golden enjoyed some fun time with Gator Wife outside on Sunday. She's watching GW carefully as GW was on the other side of GG's Invisible Fence.

By now anyone who looks at this little spice of life knows Gator Wife and I have created an annual Chrismas Village as part of our celebration of the season. I'll be including a picture from the display in each of my posts from now through the season.

This one is a scene from the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol section of our Department 56 (R) collection. We see Charles Dickens in the Public Square reading his story to the people. In the background you'll see the Scrooge & Marley building.


Friday, November 27, 2009

The Village is Lit!

We have completed our annual Christmas Village display depicting scenes from the Victorian Period and Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. We also have a Christmas Tree scene to celebrate this time of year. We begin construction on Nov. 11th each year and light the village (signalling its completion) sometime during Thanksgiving weekend.

All the pieces are collectibles from Department 56 (C) Victorian and Charles Dickens collections.

We lit the Village late Thanksgiving afternoon. Here are some representative pictures of the completed project.

The long section behind the couch leading to a mountain.

The Window Scene...Every piece depicts something from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol

The main display simply because it's the largest of the group.

Gator Daughter's mountain and woods scene, including a skating pond, on the main table.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sometimes the best laid plans . . .

My original post for This Day was an absolute mess, so...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from the entire Gator Clan. I hope you'll enjoy your time with family and friends and while giving your thanks, remember to thank our brave men and women overseas in harm's way.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Our 2009 Chistmas Village is about ready

As we had anticipated, our annual Christmas village is just about completed. We began assembling our Department 56 (c) Victorian/Dickens collection on Nov. 11th with the completion date schedule for Thanksgiving weekend. It will be finished.

We had already assembled two of the four sections we'll have this year. A village scene behind our living room couch and the most popular display, the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol window, had previously been completed.

This weekend we assembled the final two sections, a combination mountain/woods/village scene on what we call the main table and our simple Chistmas Tree display on our entertainment center.

We had assembled the frame and half the base earlier and this weekend added the structures and accessories that complete the display. The right side of the frame remains topless as we need the space to stand in while putting together the left side. That mountain in the corner is new this year.

Gator Daughter is in control of the section and she changes it slightly each year. When it is complete (left), it is really quite impressive. Once she has finished the corner, the rest of the base is added and we all begin the process of placing other pieces and accessories.

You'll probably notice that it's quite a scene under the table as the frame and wiring would be all exposed. On Thursday, the final step in the process is to add a skirt around each of the display tables and the underside can't be seen. As you look across the main display you can almost see the Dickens' Section in the window.

Finally, we put up a very simple Christmas Tree park on the top of our entertainment center. It is simple, but makes a nice addition to our celebration of the Christmas Season.

We do have just a little work left. On Tuesday, GW's day off from work, we'll add trees to the two sections. Some have already been placed, but we'll be adding another hundred or so to fill in the spots and hide any flaws we find.

Then Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, while pies are baking in the kitchen, GW and GD will add the skirt and we'll participate in dropping Department 56 "Fresh Fallen Snow" over all four sections. We are quite proud of the final results each year.

A little ahead of the scheduled weeking lighting of the display, shortly after dark Thanksgiving Day we'll flip the switch and begin enjoying our 2009 version of our Christmas Village. It'll be on display through the New Year.

Friday, I'll post some pictures of the completed display.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another Village Construction Weekend

"Happy weekend," she says with just a hint of her pretty smile.

The weather folk give us strong indications that it will be a nice one. We'll take advantage of the weather to make our final leaf cleaning trip through the yard. Nearly all the leaves are now down for this season and after this weekend, it will be time to convert the lawn mowing tractor into one that blows snow.

We'll also come very close to completing our annual Department 56 (C) Lit Victorian/Dickens Village. We erect it each Christmas season beginning on Nov. 11th and having it ready for lighting during the Thanksgiving weekend. That's next weekend and it will be ready. In fact, there's a good chance it'll be finished this weekend and lighted Thanksgiving Day.

It has been traditional for both Gator Wife and me to begin our Christmas season on Thanksgiving or the day after all our lives, beginning long before we met. We continue that tradition every year, with the exception of beginning the village.

I think we're even among a minority that hasn't started our Christmas shopping, yet, and won't until at least the day after Thanksgiving. We're too old to fight the Black Friday crowds so it probably won't be until well after Friday.

So, we have an active weekend planned; therefore we're looking forward to a good one. I hope your weekend is a good one, also, and we should have some pictures to show you Monday.


Friday, November 20, 2009

A Rainy Friday

Rain. That's the simple story for at least the first half of the day. At least getting rain on a Friday opens up the weekend to be a nice one.

Because of the weather, there's not much for the Old Gator Dude to do today. Also, I'm not too motivated to write about much, either.

So, have yourself a good Friday. This weekend the Gator family will make our last vacuuming trip through the yard for this year. Enough leaves are down now so that if any more fall, they will become poor man's fertilizer.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

No village today, but a preview of your future health care

We haven't worked on the Village since the weekend so have nothing new to show you or even just tell you about. Our attention has been focused elsewhere as we mentioned in the last post. The Old Gator Dude, however, is thinking about you and thought we'd make a little change in this week's post.

Nothing special here; Gator Golden just likes to be included.

Wednesday was the Fourth Wednesday of the month for my group of fellow retirees who meets regularly meet on that Wednesday for lunch. Yea. I know there's still another Wednesday in November, but it's the day before Thanksgiving and each year we avoid that week considering all the things going on and the big family meals begin planned for the next day. So we normally move the November session to the third week.

I think we're all surprised each year when the full complement of regulars shows up. Actually, only one person wasn't there this week, except for those who've gone to Florida, and he usually only comes occasionally. As always the group had a good lunch and it was full of great conversation.

We also do not meet in December because the last Wednesday is always between the two busy days of Christmas and New Years so we take December off. We'll be back together for the last Wednesday in January. Unfortunately, we will be without one person as he will have made his trip to Florida for the Winter.

I hope all of you are following the debate over the recommended changes in mammogram recommendations for women. The group of physicians which did not include oncologists or other cancer specialists and apparently in support of the Obama health care reform, changed long-standing recommendations that women begin annual mammogram testing at age 40 to beginning them at age 50. The group also recommended the tests be every two years instead of annually.

It is my understanding that there was no peer review of the recommendations. Medicare, the government health care reformists, and insurance companies will jump all over the recommendations. Why? Simply because of the theme repeated often throughout the news interviews of the doctor in charge. They will save money.

Of course, less frequent and later starts will save money. But at what real cost? We were told that the recommendations were in line with similar suggestions from other countries that have government sponsored health care. Government sponsored health care. And this is what I hope you're noting. It is the beginning of what will happen to health care in America if the government takes over health care.

We, like those other countries, will have care rationing and the government will control the waiting lists for care. Yes. Rationing and waiting lists. They are already a part of HR3200, the U.S. House passed health care reform bill.

Is this what you really want?

We have been told the best way to rid one's cancer is early detection and early treatment. A person near and dear to me was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and it was found as a result of her annual mammogram. Because of early detection, her prognosis is excellent. I'd hate to think of what could happen if she had to wait another year for that test.

It's also interesting that none of the groups involved with cancer care, prevention, or education has endorsed the recommendations. I'm urging all of you to carefully consider what will happen to our health care if the government does take it over.


Monday, November 16, 2009

More village progress; and a sad note

Thanks to our rainy Saturday and cloudy Sunday, we were able to work on our annual Christmas Village over the weekend. We had all but completed the first section last Wednesday, Veterans' Day, the day we traditionally begin. Because of a change in the way we took down the village last year, this year's project is already ahead of schedule.

On the left above is the beginning of the Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol section. The frame was positioned, the bases were put in place, and some structures and accessories were put onto the section for arrangement. It wasn't long before the section was all but finished. Every piece depicts a scene from the famous seasonal story about Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim Cratchet.

Before the weekend's activity ended, we had already set up the framework for the third section which probably could be called the main section as it is the largest. We are so far ahead of schedule this year, we are contemplating adding a section in another room. That will depend on events not in our control.

Last week we mentioned that Gator Wife had to undergo an unexpected test. We got back the results and they weren't very pleasant. As a result, she will begin the process of preparing for surgery and probable chemotherapy. It is my turn to walk at her side for next several weeks as she has walked beside me for the past eight years.

I will keep you informed of the progress of the Village from time to time, but there won't be much ranting and raving on events I can't control anyway. These posts may also be few and far between for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for being with us and, if you're so inclined, a little prayer for Gator Wife would be greatly appreciated.

And finally, it's easier to reach A Gator in Maine now. We are also at


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wet, but possibly productive weekend

"I think this is my best side. Is this my best side?"

This is another Christmas Village construction weekend. Sometime rain, or even the threat of it, is a good weekend friend. It gives us the excuse to remain inside to add the second section.

We have the first section all but finished. That was accomplished Wednesday, the first official day of this year's version of the Village. We create a Department 56(c) lit Victorian/Dickens Christmas display each year. The official lighting takes place Thanksgiving weekend.

This weekend we're adding what is perhaps the most popular display in our four-part production. Every piece depicts a scene from Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, the famous annual seasonal story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Most people know it as the story of Tiny Tim.

First comes the construction of the frame, then we add the layers of styrofoam, which serves as a base and is used to conceal the wiring that makes it a lighted display. We will add the structures and accessories, including the three Ghosts and a cemetary. When it is finished, it should continue in its own little tradition of being the best.

I'll try to have some pictures of it Monday.

The rain also has a downside. It will probably keep us from making a final pass through the yard to vacuum the remaining leaves and acorns. Some of our trees do still have leaves so perhaps not being able to do it if it rains will be a good thing. That rain and any wind could finish the leaf-dropping for this season.

I hope you're weekend will be as full of good activity as ours.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gator Clan's Village Construction continues

As we do annually, we began the actual Christmas Village construction Wednesday. We had spent some time last weekend putting up the frame that holds one section of the Village. The placement of the structures was begun on our traditional annual beginning day, Nov. 11th. (You can see some pictures of the frame in Wednesday's post.) To the right here is the beginning one of two mountains areas we'll have this year. Remember, this is just the earliest placing of some structures.

Another view of the early placing is on the left. As you can see, only a few of many pieces have been placed. You may notice little ridges in the styrofoam which we use as a base to contour the area to give the overall affect of some depth. The blank spots will eventually have more structures. We'll also be adding accessories to create a "village feeling."

Before we begin the lighting process, we put all the pieces in the section generally where we expect them to be, although we do quite often make many changes before the final layout is completed. On the left is a look at more of the structures along the full length of village portion behind a section of the living room couch.

On the right are the hands of Gator Daughter as she gives us a hand by putting the lights in place. These are the lights that allows us to give the night time look of a village all lit up. You'll notice we have at least two layers of styrofoam on the base which allows us to create channels for the wires and still keep the wiring invisible when guests come to view the village.

It's a little hard to see them lit on the left here, but you can get an idea of what a Department 56 (C) Lit Villlage looks like. As I've said, all the pieces we use are from the Victorian/Dickens collections. We'll add accessories this coming weekend and begin another section, the depiction of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. When all four sections are completed Thanksgiving Weekend, we'll add trees and snow and officially light the Village.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Annual Christmas Village Construction Begins

Happy Veteran’s Day. We all should be honoring all our fine men and women who have given the ultimate gift to America in the various wars and conflicts we’ve been through since our beginning. And we all should be honoring those men and women in today’s Armed Services who continue to protect this great country of ours.

Thank you to both veterans and those still serving from the Gator Clan.

The Gator Clan also celebrates its beginnings 48 years ago as we begin our 49th. It was on Nov. 11, 1961, that Gator Wife and I became one. Wow, I’ve enjoyed about two-thirds of my life with my wonderful bride. Trust me; she’s had to endure a whole lot more than I as we embark on #49. Happy Anniversary, Gator Wife.

It’s also the day we begin formal construction of our annual Christmas Village which takes up a good portion of our living room between Nov. 11th and shortly after the New Year. This year we got a little head start this past weekend when we brought the table frames and coverings into the room. One frame has been put together, and Gator Wife has also begun bringing some of the collectables out of storage.

Our village consists of lighted pieces we’ve collected over the years from Department 56 © collectables. The Village primarily consisted of Victorian houses and business with a few from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We have noticed a subtle change in the naming of the offered displays so that most of the Victorian Collection now contains the Dickens’ Village designation.

Department 56 © also has other organized villages, such as a New England presentation, a Santa one, and several others. We have remained loyal to the one we use and our collections includes more than 250 houses, businesses, people, accessories, that bring Victorian England to life. We also keep our collection intact and put all the pieces into their original boxes for storage.

We do not include all our collection on display every year and we’ve narrowed it down somewhat from its optimal presentation a few years back when it literally consumed 75% of our living room and extended into the dining room. We now only have it along one wall, in the bay window, and a short section of another wall.

Only one section remains relatively unchanged from year to year, and that is a section dedicated entirely to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Every piece in it represents a scene from the popular Christmas story that depicts the change from the piker Scrooge to his becoming a generous old man. Even the ghosts are included.

In case you’re wondering, we do not use the living room for living per se. It is reserved for when we have guests. Our TV resides in a room of its own so we don’t have much reason to use the living room.

And so our season has begun. We have a lot of work to do between now and our scheduled “Lighting of the Village” during the Thanksgiving weekend, but we’ve always managed to stay on schedule. I’ll have village updates and pictures as we go along and a picture roundup when it’s finished.


Monday, November 9, 2009

A very busy week for the Gator Clan

Come on, Dad. Get out of that chair! We've go work to do.

Monday begins a new week. This one will be active for the Gator clan, primarily the mom and dad duo, so we won’t do much, if any, ranting and raving.

Monday begins with a morning visit to a local medical testing facility so that Gator Wife can have a procedure to check on a development she didn’t expect. The test itself we’re told isn’t too difficult but the anxiety will be prevalent for the remainder of the day, at least.

I’ll have my normal senior fitness session Tuesday morning, and then we’ll be waiting patiently for the delivery of a new refrigerator, probably early afternoon. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we didn’t get a start of the Christmas Village, scheduled to begin Wednesday, to keep us busy while we wait.

Wednesday is the day of days for this week. GW and I will celebrate the beginning of our 49th year together. Not a bad anniversary for a pair whose attendees at our wedding almost a half century ago were entering a pool betting on how long it would last. No one knows whatever happened to the pool money and only a small handful of people there, none of the poolers of which we are aware, are still around to ask. (If the money were still available, I’d claim it. After all, GW and I entered this thing for life.)

Wednesday also begins the formal construction of our Christmas Village and I’ll have more on that, especially if you’re new to our project, Wednesday. It is a giant undertaking which occupies most of our living room. I’ll be posting project pictures along the way.

Gator Wife will be on ‘vacation’ from her part time job until Friday.

The activity continues Thursday as two more projects are scheduled. I’ll begin with my senior fitness session then come home to work on the Village with GW. Also Thursday we’ll have a couple necessary project completed by professional work people. We were very late scheduling our chimney sweep so the chimney cleaning guys are coming Thursday. I take full “credit” for the delay. We got a post card way back last spring or early summer reminding us to schedule the cleaning. I didn’t so when I did call, the first day I could get scheduled was this Thursday.

Also Thursday gutter workers are coming to clean our gutters, check to be sure they’re still O.K., replace any that needed replacing, and install gutter guards on all of them. That will cut down on the cleaning as this old Bull Gator doesn’t do ladders any more.

I’m looking forward to Friday for a “Whoooh” day, but GW will return to her job. So the Gator Clan has a busy one ahead of us and not one that will give me time to rant. Probably a good thing. There’s that House so-call health reform bill . . .


Saturday, November 7, 2009

A nice, November weekend

What's any better than a roll in the leaves, especially
when it helps get them moved for the family?

The first full weekend of November has arrived, and the weather people tell us it is going to be a relatively nice one with Sunday being the better of the two days. November is always a good month as we make the transition from summer/fall to winter/spring.

More than that, however, it is a great month in the Gator clan as the old bull and his wonderful sow have their anniversary. It’ll be number 48 this year, not a major number, but still 48 years together is a wonderful accomplishment.

It was in November, 2001, when I had that adventure the many people believed would lead to my not seeing even that Thanksgiving. A burst aneurysm and heart attack had me on my death bed for more than a month and here it is eight years later and I’m still looking forward to Thanksgiving.

Christmas season begins this month, although some stores started the season as many as several weeks ago. Traditionally, it’s the day after Thanksgiving that brings the season into full bloom.

This is also the month Gator Wife and Gator Daughter and I establish our annual Dickens/Victorian Christmas Village from Department 56. That officially begins this coming Wednesday although we’re going to spend some time this weekend bringing the frame parts to the living room where we construct the village.

There’s just a chance GD will help us clear some more leaves from our yard. Those darn acorns may get some attention, too.

So we like November, a month of beginnings for the Gator family and a time that brings real pleasure. We hope you have a great weekend and your November is as happy as ours.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Health Care endorsement angers me!

"Why are you so angry, Dad? Is it something I've done?"

No, GG. You're a good girl. It's proposed health care reform.

I am extremely angry at an organization to which I foolishly belong today. It is the AARP, the American Association of Retired People. I read yesterday and heard on the radio that the organization has endorsed the House Democrats health care reform bill. I cannot believe that anyone in the organization has read or even perused the legislation itself. As I pointed out one day last week, I have read it, or most of it at least, and it is the worst possible health care bill we can imagine.

The increase in taxes alone to pay for this disaster should be enough to make everyone fight against it. For us seniors, it will lead to what Sarah Palin warned, death panels. Long waiting lists for care are required to be created for whatever the government deems necessary so that the government can have enough money to pay.

People who do not buy the mandatory insurance will be fined and I read earlier this week, the government anticipates it will get more than a billion dollars in fines.

Medicare will receive cuts into the billions of dollars which will completely adversely affect the quality of care for seniors.

I can’t possibly review all the disastrous effects this health care bill will put upon not only seniors but all Americans. As one pundit wrote earlier this week, the bill contains every bad idea for health reform that has been proposed by both Democrats and Republicans for the past ten years.

And the AARP, that group that purports to fight for retired people, is supporting the end of medical care for those retired people. I can’t help but wonder just how much money they have received from ACORN, the SEIU (government labor union), the Democratic Party, and others for this support. By this endorsement, the AARP certainly demonstrates to retired people that it is not their friend.

You can read what I said last Friday about the proposed health reform here.

You really should read the actual bill so you’ll know exactly where I stand and why. It is available here, or at least was yesterday. Warning: It isn’t easy reading which is why very few people, including most Congress people, won’t ever actually read it. The AARP site directs you to a couple of resources where it says you can learn about the reform package. I haven’t checked them out, but I’d bet they don’t reflect what the actual bill says.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Thursday break

Squeaky Bear is much more fun than that political ranting stuff!

We've reached the day after the day after and I have nothing to add to anything. I'm jotting down this one just to end the political comments I've been making for several weeks. I'm as tired of them as I am the campaigns through which we just endured.

So, we won't make any other comments this day or this week about the elections.

So, Happy Thursday, Everyone!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thankfully, It's over!

The voters have spoken and I’m happy with one outcome and disappointed with another. The gay marriage law was repealed and I’m pleased with that one. I’m a little surprised with the outcome considering all the out-of-state money (99% of the total) that was spent by the “no” side, but marriage as I know it has been preserved, at least for another two years. It may have been the elimination of all gender language in the new law that led to its repeal. After all, gay or straight, there are still males and females.

My disappointment came with the defeat of TABOR, the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights. Maine voters have said they want to continue uncontrolled spending and taxation by state and communities. On this one, I think it was money raised and spent that determined the outcome. My only real surprise was the margin.

Although all my other votes were losers, there were no real surprises. I had expressed reservations on the excise tax change which was defeated. I had said the repeal of school consolidation should be left up to the communities involved and mine wasn’t. I’ve can’t remember a time when I was on the winning side of a bond question and the medical marijuana results will be interesting to follow. I don’t think anyone understood or really cared, including me even though I voted yes, on the constitutional question to change time frames for initiative drives.

I am very happy that this election is over. Yes, I know I’ve done my fair share of using this space to comment on the election while at the same time proclaiming my disdain for all the advertisements that caused me to want the season to end. Generally, it was a piece of that advertising that raised the hair on the back of my neck to cause me to rant. This was among the dirtiest of campaigns that I can remember in Maine. Thankfully, I hope, now it’s over.

Now we can turn our attention to the upcoming June primaries when we choose our candidate to run for governor. Oh, wait. Not everyone has to participate in the primary. There will also be conventions. There are a whole flock of people from Republicans to Democrats to Greens to Independents attempting to be included. There’ll be many changes between now and next June so I’ll attempt to refrain from commenting until we approach that time.

Also in June we could be facing another citizen initiative. A group has turned in enough signatures to force a referendum to repeal a major tax increase passed by the last legislature. Actually, proponents of the measure call it a tax reform and will try to convince us that it will actually lower taxes for most people. It won’t, of course.

The group seeking repeal has gone to court to force the Secretary of State to act on the petitions submitted in September in the constitutionally required time. The Secretary of State has not met the legal time requirement to accept or reject the signatures. Interesting to note is the Secretary of State would not have accepted the petitions if they had been just seconds late.

We’ll go into that referendum in greater detail when June approaches and if the petitions are approved.

The Gator Bunch is now just one week away from beginning its annual Christmas Village construction. We have developed a display of Department 56 © Dickens and Victorian Village pieces that we erect each Christmas season. Actually, I think the Victorian Series has become primarily the Dickens Series as most of the Victorian pieces are now also labeled as Dickens.

Our project begins each year on Nov. 11th, a combination of Veteran’s Day nationally and the Gator Mom’s and Pop’s wedding anniversary and we set the Thanksgiving Weekend as the completion date. Since we’re going to be using the same framework as last year, it might not take the full time period, but we like tradition here.

Once lit sometime between Thanksgiving Day and the following Sunday, it will stay in place until shortly after the New Year.

But that all begins next week and I’ll be spending quite a lot of space here describing the progress and probably even showing it to you in pictures.

I’d sure like to see all the leaves down by this coming weekend as I’m getting just a little bit tired of cleaning my yard. It seems like after each cleaning, the leaves take an even stronger revenge on my eliminating their kin. A goodly portion of my yard is now just about completely covered with leaves but I haven’t done any vacuuming since last week because it seems to be so futile. I’d love to end it all this coming weekend when we will have to vacuum whether it is the last time or not.

And then, of course, there’s my other nemesis, the acorns. Have I ever mentioned here that I hate acorns?


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you for voting your conscience

on this Election Day 2009.


Decision Day is Here!

Today is Election Day 2009.

No matter what your preferences are,
if you haven't cast your ballot early or by absentee,



Monday, November 2, 2009

The decisions are upon us

Like probably all of you who live in Maine, I’ve been getting a whole bunch of mailers concerning some issues facing Maine voters Tuesday. It is then that we will decide on seven state referendum items and, depending on your community, local elections.

Gator Wife and I took advantage last week of the state’s new early voting experiment which is designed to see how people react and use voting spread out over a period of time rather than just one day. It differs from absentee voting in that with early voting, the voter actually completes and casts a ballot into a regular vote counting machine whereas absentee voting is accomplished by the voter completing a ballot and putting it into an envelope which is held until Election Day.

Apparently, the early voting test is proving to be a big success. It is the way I’ll vote from now on if the opportunity continues.

Back to the mailers. Two I received last Friday dealt with the “Vote No” group and their mailers were simply grossly exaggerated. One, the Vote No on Question 1 (gay marriage) wanted to convince me that thousands of Mainers wanted to keep the law that allows same sex marriages. The actual ballot question asks Mainers if they want to repeal the law.

I’m not sure just who those “thousands” are, but, according to a set of statistics I saw last week, less than one percent (.6%) of the money paying for their campaign came from Mainers. The rest was from out of state special interest groups. It was all from non-Mainers who have no stake in our state except to promote their special agenda.

The other mailer I received Friday was from the Vote No on Question 4 (TABOR II) group. Those people may have presented the most grossly over stated reasons to vote against the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights of any group on any question in this year’s election. Much of their presentations have been just plain lies. I’ve gone through most of their claims in recent postings so I won’t repeat them here.

But once again, just like the previous one, the list of contributors to the No campaign on TABOR tells a lot more than their message. Nearly 100% of the money to pay for that campaign has come directly from groups, both governmental and non-profit, that get their money from government funding. They are afraid that the voters will not continue to approve the large tax increases of the past few years that keep them going.

TABOR doesn’t call for any cuts, only the limiting of growth. I can think of many places I’d like to see cut and give me a tax break. We bought their arguments three years ago and accepted their promises of reform. Once the election was over, those reforms were discarded and tax growth has outstripped the cost of living by double digits.

The “No” group will point out that the state this year has cut several million dollars from its current budget. What it doesn’t mention is that nothing was cut. Part of the reduction was paid by federal stimulus money for one year; part was simply palmed off to the local communities to pay.

Personally I hope you’ll vote “Yes” on the referenda so this state can begin its healing. But no matter how you feel, it is extremely important that you do get to the polls Tuesday (or to early voting or absentee voting Monday). It is an honor for every American to participate in the democratic process, whether you agree with my positions or not.