Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maine March Sunday Sunrise

Final Edit of this post, and it's a record setting Wednesday morning:  As we begin this day, we still have some shower activity in our region and parts of the state are still seeing rain, but the weather guys tell us the end is near and we could even see some sunshine by late this afternoon.  But we have set a record for March rainfall.  The weather folk tell us the previous March wetness record was 9.97 inches and this month at least 11.06 had fallen by the time we got up this morning and could grow a little more until our shower/rain activity abandons us later today.  (How about the record in South Berwick?  19.6 inches of rain this month.)

This is also the last Wednesday of the month and my group of fellow retirees is scheduled for our monthly lunch session.  But as our lunch time arrives, so will ticket give-aways for tomorrow's visit of President Obama to Portland.  It'll be interesting to see if any of our group foregoes our session to stand in line for the free tickets which will be handed out this morning.  The line began forming at midnight.  I'm not in it and won't be so I'll be at the restaurant.  I must say, though, if I still had kids and there were a parade route, my kids and I would probably be along side the road.  I'm not an Obama fan, but I still have great respect for the office of the Presidency and would take the opportunity to let my kids see a President. 

And thus ends the updates of this stormy post.

Edited Tuesday morning:  The weather forecasters continue to be correct.  We do have rain again today, but the winds have shifted to the northeast.  Flooding could be a major problem before this day is done.  But we're offered some hope.  Much nicer weather is heading our way and the sun could return tomorrow with some areas hitting temperatures in the 80s this coming weekend.  (We here on the coast will be cooler, possibly in the 70s, though.)

Edited Monday morning:  The warning yesterday's red sky in the morning delivered has come to pass.  On this Monday morning, as all the forecasters said it would, rain, sometimes heavy, is engulfing our region.

With a Sou'Easter rain storm bearing down on us for Monday and Tuesday, we awoke in Maine this Sunday morning, March 28th, to a beautiful sunrise.  Heavy rain predicted for Monday and Tuesday, but possible record breaking warmth this coming weekend.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Golden Moment

Thursday was a beautiful sunny day in southern Maine, but a stormy night into Friday will bring perhaps the coldest temperatures since January.  Those temperatures probably won't get out of the mid 30s with a biting wind.  It'll be a little warmer, the 40s, perhaps, Sunday into next week, but a rainy Nor'Easter may pass along the Maine coast Monday into Tuesday.

Not much to write about this day, so here's a picture taken Mar. 20th of Gator Golden (in the back) being circled by her sister, Gator Daughter's Golden.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


"What a revoltin' development this is," Chester A. Riley would exclaim if he awoke in my area of the world this morning.  My lawn is snow colored.  And it's still snowing. 

Don't be fooled.  It'll all be long gone in a very short while.  The temperature is already above freezing and we should see a turn to rain momentarily.  The storm pulls away this afternoon bringing some of the coldest temperatures we've seen in weeks.  And the weather folk are predicting another Nor'Easter for next week.

Chester would be screaming at this turn of events for quite a while.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

The pups love the arrival of spring

Tuesday, March 22...Nothing new today.

Monday, March 21...Nothing new today.

Spring has now officially sprung!  And what a beautiful happening it was!  A couple of Gator pups had a grand time as spring replaced winter for this half of the year.  "Pups" might be a little misnomer...both dogs, Gator Golden and her sister, our daughter's dog, are well over six years old.  As I suspect it is with most families, our son and daughter, both in their 40s, are still our "kids."  As so it is, GG is our pup.

That's Gator Golden nearest us with her sister romping in our back yard as they welcomed the season change.  They were chasing each other around for a goodly part of the early afternoon.

GG urges her "Mommy" to "Please toss the ball."

March is moving right along

A weekend again.  It just seems like the weeks are flying by; and the one thing I've noticed the most is that the older I get the faster the time zips by.

Here in Southern Maine the first day of spring has brought perhaps the nicest weather we've had so far this year; and this years has been absolutely loaded with nice weather.  It began last month and hasn't really let up except for an occasional "cool" day and a monster of a rain storm.  But we haven't seen snow in our little area for a month and a half or longer.

The second half of the weekend, though, changes it all for a very short while.  Significantly cooler, almost all the way down to a normal 42 or 43 degrees.  The drop from the 60s will be felt.  Rain will also be here for the early part of the workweek and at least one weatherman hinted the state's mountains could get some snow.

I'm enjoying the NCAA championship basketball tourney, but there are some things I don't truly understand.  Why aren't the vaious regional early rounds somewhere in the region playing?  Why is the part of the early West Regional in Buffalo, NY, for example?  East Regional teams have had to travel out west.  In my tiny mind, it would save each college money in travel expenses if the games were in their own neighborhoods.

Florida, sort of a southern school, was in the West Regional.  Why not the Southern one?  The Gators were eliminated in the first game, but being in the West had nothing to do with that.  I had told a friend that the Gators never should have been in the tourney and their early departure was no surprise, except, perhaps, for the diehards.

I know the schools are assigned playoff divisions to try to even out the games, but the situation doesn't make any sense to me.  Rather than calling the divisions by geographic names, perhaps just finding a way to give the them some other common name would make it less confusing.

Of course there's always the possibility I'm the only confused one.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A fun time is upon us

We are in a time of absolutely beautiful weather.  Tuesday was simply gorgeous with abundant sunshine and temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above normal.  Several places in Maine set new high temperature for the date records with Bangor leading the way.  Bangor's 60 degrees broke a previous record set in 1927.  Even the Old Gator Dude wasn't around for that one.

And our great temperatures are expected to continue through the weekend with the exception of Thursday when a Canadian low front is expected to drag some clouds through the state.  It will continue to be warm, though, and no precipitation is expected.

Tuesday I complained about how the weather had affected my own body, even causing a rare missing of my Tuesday senior fitness session.  But by the end of the day, the weekend front had pulled far, far away and this old body recovered during the day.  All was normal Wednesday morning.

I guess the Portland Pirates, our local minor league hockey team, fans are in a happy time, or at least will be once the official announcement is made, that the team will remain here.  There had been speculation for the past few weeks that the team would move to Albany, NY. 

National health care remains a hot topic.  It looks like there'll be a lot on it to mention this week.  It is a terrible bill and even the Democrats, who are pushing it through on a procedural trickery, haven't read it and don't know what's in it.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a most interesting comment awhile ago.  She said the Democrats have to pass the bill to learn what's in it.  Seems to me this is putting the cart before the horse.  If they read it first, it wouldn't stand a chance. 

Americans all across the country who already know more of the bill's contents than the Congressional Democrats are beginning to realize how this will destroy our health care and the people are more and more urging the defeat of the so-called reform bill.  I think the Democrats trickery could come back to bite them in November.

Tiger Woods will be returning to golf at the Masters in Augusta, GA, next month.  It might be interesting to see how he does. 

Here in Maine, the campaigning for November's governor's election is swinging into ultra high gear.  We have primaries in June to select the Democrat and Republican nominees.  Five Republicans and four Democrats will be on the ballot.  Governor John Baldacci is term limited out and isn't allowed to run again this year.

The fun in both Washington and Augusta continues.  And Spring springs Saturday.  We're in for a real fun time.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The weather stops the Old Gator Dude

If you have read my stuff in the past, you know that Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days for some Senior Fitness sessions at a local physical therapy establishment.  I didn't get there today.  I didn't even leave my home to try.  The storms and thus low pressure system we've experienced for the past three days all caused my bones and other innards to balk this morning.  Simply stated, I'm hurting.  So I stayed home.

Those storms wreaked havoc in some parts of southern Maine, especially along the Maine-New Hampshire border.  The town of South Berwick, according to the morning television news, hit the jackpot with 9.67 inches of rain.  Roads and bridges were closed between the two states as well as local roads and bridges.  We here in my place received about three and half inches.  Flooding is still pretty heavy in all of Northern New England.

What goes around comes around, as they say.  When I was growing up and even in much of my adult years here, a local television station and the local newspapers were owned by the same family.  The FCC forced the breakup of such ownerships several years ago and so the Portland newspapers and the TV station parted ways.  WGAN TV became WGME and was no longer part of the newspaper.

This morning, both MediaToday, the new owner of the newspapers, and WGME announced the formation of a new joint sharing of news, sport aqnd weather.  In fact, the weather today on the website was provided by WGME.  Both groups say they believe the new partnership will provide each with better and more and better coverage.  We'll see.  The remain separate entities, however.

Beautiful, gorgeous sunny day here this morning and it's supposed to get better as the week progresses.  I'm selfish.  I hope it dries out my bones and gets me back into the swing.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Pouring Rain!

To say it's a little damp here in Southern Maine this early Monday morning would be one of the biggest understatements I've ever made.  As I jot this down, the rain is falling at a very heavy level.  We have ponding and puddling all around us, and I live half way down a small hill.  Yesterday was, as we say, brutal.  At least the wind has died down somewhat and the forecast calls for it to leave our area later today.

I remember last February when we were having all that warm, snowless February weather, Gator Wife said, "Just wait until March 15th."  Well, today is March 15th and her prediction was almost right on the money, except today's storm is rain, not snow.  If this had been snow, we'd be buried for quite some time.  I guess that's a bright star in this weather.

This is the week the government told us last week in a letter sent solely to tell us it would send us a letter this week with our census form.  The government also urges us to return it right away so we won't forget.  The first question on the form asks how many people lived in our household on April 1st.  Seems to me that if we complete the form right away and send it in we're automatically lying.  April 1st is still a couple weeks away.

Now like the most of us, I don't anticipate any changes in these couple of weeks, but I'll still play their little game correctly and wait until then to mail mine back in.

That brings me to another fascinating question, one I'll use my Fearless Friend to illustrate.  FF and Mrs. FF have two homes, one here in Maine and the other in Florida.  I believe that's a situation duplicated by hundreds, yea, thousands, of other northerners who spend at least part of their winter months in the warmer climate.  "Snowbirds" is what they're affectionately called.

All these people will probably end up with two census forms, one via mail at their northern residence and one at their warmer climate home, whether it be in Florida, Arizona, or elsewhere.  There may be rules coverning this situation about which I don't know, but if they are like me, they'd simply ignore one of them and complete the other.  If they don't send the "away" one back, then the government will spend thousands, millions, of dollars sending people to those residences trying to find them.

I don't think we have a very efficient government.

I also have been thinking about how the Democrats in Washington want to ruin our great health care.  The bill which the Dems are pushing through Congress probably hasn't even been read by most if not all of them.  Nor the vast majority of us, for that matter.  The provisions it contains is going to shock you when you try to get health services.  Then, and only then, will we come to realize the totality of this monster of a bill.  And then it will be too late.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Maybe a wet March weekend

The second week in March is ending and a new one is upon us.  One minor or, depending on one's point of view, major event happened this past week.  The Old Gator Dude entered another year. 

Gator Golden will be a little anxious with us Sunday when the month's third week gets underway.  Because our little holding brings out many night critters, including those black and white pussies, we don't let GG head outside before daylight.  I suspect in a fair fight, she could hold her own against a skunk, but that guy has one really awful defense weapon.  I don't want to smell it all day in the house.

So, since we move the clocks ahead before we head to bed Saturday night, it'll still be dark, possibly very dark, when GG needs to go outside.  She'll be patient, I suspect, when Gator Wife tells her to lie down until daylight.  She will let out a groaning message of displeasure, however.

Depending on what part of our state you're in, we'll either see rain Sunday, possibly a lot of it, or none at all.  The temperatures in week three will super though, as we'll possibly be in the 50s several days. 

Spring is only a week away, but for many of us in Maine it actually arrived a while back.

We have many trees on our property and most of them both hide us from passersby and activities on other property from us.  We're basically loners, I guess, and we like it this way.  However, a big rain/wind storm several days ago took down two big evergreen trees that were on the property line.

The mess has been cleaned up and thanks to the town's free storm debris disposal policy, we had a good place take them.  But now there's a huge gap on the line.  We can now see the house on the next property and beyond it to the street on which we live.  Our home is way off the street so traffic noise still won't bother us; but it is a sight we haven't experienced since we moved into this house.

It'll take getting used to.

Enjoy your weekend.  And don't forget to change your clocks.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Census

I hadn't planned to change my blog for this week, but Tuesday's mail simply changed my mind. 

I received a letter from the Census Burea informing me that I'd get a letter next week with my official census forms.  Imagine!  A letter to tell me I'd receive a letter!  All the money the government spent in print, radio and television advertising that this is a census year wasn't enough.  Our apparently rich government with its endless resources thought I should get a letter telling me I'd be getting more mail.

I totally realize I'm not the only one who received this letter as it was sent to every known residence in the country. But it did get me to thinking about the expense of all this census business.  We're talking 15-billion or more dollars which includes these letters, the advertising, the workers, the printers, and all others working on this 15-billion dollar undertaking.

The cost of sending l'il ol' Gator Dude  a letter doesn't seem like much, but multiply that by all the residences in the country and you'd get enough money to help an awful lot of people.

The U.S. Constitution requires that a head count be made every ten years.  But that's all the Constitution requires.  The country must learn the number of citizens we have in the United States.  Somehow I don't think it should take 15 billion dollars to learn that.

However, over the years Congress and the Census Bureau have created codes that dictate other information also must or may be collected.  And fines have been included in those codes to encourage people to cooperate.  Actually, I think the permissibility of the fee structure was first included originally when a small, minute by today's standards, fine could be assessed anyone refusing to let their head be counted.

I think it was the the 1980, yes, the 1980 census that officially established that the count would be taken in a year ending in zero, although that was the informal condition before that, and most people who study such things seem to believe that was the intention of the founding fathers.

Therefore, the letter I received Tuesday says I'll be asked other information, too.  The Internet is sometimes a wonderful thing.  It only took a minute or less to find a copy of the actual census questions.  It does include some questions I know not why are necessary.  For example, along with the total number of people living there it asks for the first and last names of all the occupants of the residence.  And the telephone number 'in case there are any questions' about your form after it is returned.

The questionnaire and the letter I received this week do explain that the information they seek is needed to properly determine dispursements of money for local governments and to determine the number of Congressional Districts, thus Representatives, in the states.  The Senate is set at two each.

That district determination could be as easily made by the head count required by the Constitution.  That same count could easily be used to determine fund dispursement. 

I can't help but wonder why the rest is necessary.  It sure as old Charlie isn't worth the spending of 15-billion dollars to get.

And just think about the need for the first two questions.  The first one, which I'll concede is necessary and probably the only necessary one on the form, asks simply how many people live in the residence as of April 1, 2010.  The second one is an eyebrow raiser as it asks if anyone other than those included in the first question also lives there.  We have a super intelligent bunch in our Census Bureau.

I'm not suggesting anyone not complete the form.  There are only ten questions and will take only a few moments.  Everything on it could easily be obtained by the government in other ways if it needed the information.  And by codes and laws you are required to answer the questions.  If you don't respond in a timely manner, you can expect a personal visit by a census taker to assist you in completing the form.

Census 2010, a 15-billion dollar boondoggle.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Second Week in March

The second week in March is underway.  Here in Southern Maine it got off to a fantastic week with temperatures reaching into the mid 50s Sunday.  The normal average temperature for our area is 39.  On Sunday, the weather forecast for the week looked like the temperatures would go down a little and be in the low to mid 40s by the weekend, but that's still above normal.

Gator Golden isn't cooperating with me.  I've been trying to get a new, cute picture of her to post here, but she's gotten into turning away when she spots the camera looking at her.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

A reply

My Fearless Friend left a comment at the end of my previous post saying he looked but saw nothing new.  I asked him what he meant and he referred to my last paragraph:  "I'm not sure if I'm signalling here a return to regular posts or I'm just replacing some dated picture ones of the beginning of the month. I guess we'll just have to see what happens."

Nothing has happened.  I've only posted a couple of pictures and just a couple very short narratives in the last six weeks or so.  There are so many things I'd like to offer comments about, but right now I'm not ready to jump back into the daily routine.  Writing a daily blog on real issues takes a lot of time if one wants to fairly accurately indicate a position.

For example, earlier this year I had taken what I considered to be a strong stand against the government's health reform activities.  In order to form a position, I had to do considerable reading of various sources, including parts of the 2700 page document itself.  That bill which the Democrats now say they're going to force through Congress rather quickly before most of the members have to return home to their local primaries and caucuses.  It is still a very, very bad bill that is going to cost Americans infinitely more through taxation and fees than they realize and the government's takeover will cut our access to health care dramatically.

National polls, as you know, show that the majority of American are opposed to this reform and the Democrats, seeing what happened in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and elsewhere know they are facing the possibility of being replaced in the coming elections.  Yet they prod on.

Here in Maine we have our own primaries coming in June.  Huge, I mean HUGE, bond issues will be on the ballot leaving future generations in even further tax debt.  We won't know until the middle of this month who might survive the petitions and actually appear on the primary ballot for governor.  Right now there's a lot of good people trying to get there.  There may even be one or two I'm not sure are good for us trying, also.

The shift and shaft tax reform package will also be on the ballot.  There'll also be many local questions and positions up for decisions.

I've only tapped some of the more obvious issues to show that the fodder for regular posts is there.

And, of course, the regular lives of the Gator Clan continue.  We can almost always find a picture of our pride and joy, Gator Golden, to share with you.

I haven't mentioned since her ordeal the progress of Gator Wife who underwent breast cancer surgery several weeks ago.  I'm pleased to say that she has completed her radiation treatment and, except for a little discomfort, is back to near normal activity.  Fatigue that resulted from the radiation is slowly dissipating and we've already planned a summer vacation trip.  She does face five years of medication.

So the decision is still out on whether to resume and to what extent to resume.  And that, my Fearless Friend, is an answer to your comment.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


The month of March has arrived, and it came in with a whimper on the Gator Homestead.  The weather gods tried to give us some nasty stuff, but they failed miserably.  There's virtually no evidence it has snowed this winter on the area we call home.

Isn't there some old adage about how March arrives resulting in how it leaves?  I guess that might hint we're still in for some miserable weather as the month began with that lamb stuff.  I recall in the middle of February when much of the East Coast was being shut down by snow and we continued with sunny skies and above average temperatures that Gator Wife said, "Just wait until after March 15."  I'd add that she does pretty well with weather prognostications.

Sometime this month, the Old Gator Dude moves into another year.  That will put things back into their proper perspective.  For a few short minutes, my Fearless Friend had inched closer.

I'm not sure if I'm signalling here a return to regular posts or I'm just replacing some dated picture ones of the beginning of the month.  I guess we'll just have to see what happens.


Monday, March 1, 2010


Edited Mar. 1 at 8:15 AM to add picture...

Just a brief note this morning to update yesterday's post.  It ended with the forecast that we'd get a couple to four inches of snow overnight, and one report even had said three to six inches.

Fortunately for my little triangle of the world, the forecasters forgot to tell the weather gods.  We did get some rain, but shoveling or snowblowing isn't in the cards in my little corner today.  We are still getting a little rain as I jot this down, but the weather radar indicates it's on its way out.

I thought you, especially my Florida friends, would like to be reminded of what two to six inches of forecast snow looks like in my front yard.

First, this is what the Saturday night storm left us when we awoke on Feb. 28th:

We were told to expect another 2 to 6 inches of snow, depending on the forecast source, Sunday night into Monday.  This is our version of several inches of snow Mar. 1 out the same front door:

Is no snow a disappointment?  Not for me.