Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It was "white" after all!

Christmas is behind us for another year.  It was a wonderful Christmas in the GiM household and I hope your home echoed ours.  As usual, my two gals, wife and daughter, put together a superior Christmas meal.

Christmas is difficult in families like ours.  As the years go along and as our age seems to increase, we now tend to get things we need and want as we go along.  That makes shopping for Christmas presents somewhat difficult.  Nevertheless, I think we all were creative enough so that we had a terrific day.

My "fading hope" of last week got revived as snow began falling early in the day and continued all day.  Although we've had snowier White Christmases, we got enough in our yard for me to proclaim a White Christmas here.  That just added to the day's enjoyment.

I love it when it snows as it did and then the snow stops.  This year, however, the forecast calls for some of us to get blasted again Thursday possibly into Friday with more on the way after that.  Although I live in what is projected to be a somewhat rainy event with some snow accumulation, one wouldn't have to travel far inland to find a lot more than people my age like.  I've seen some projections of up a foot or more.  I guess we'll know more later this week.

Our Tree is down already but the Village remains.  It's got another week or two of life.

I hope you have great days after Christmas and that all your presents fit and were appropriate so you won't have to fight the lines of returns.  We won't have to go to the stores.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The entire Gator in Maine congregation
wishes you and yours
The Merriest of Christmases.

May this day bring you peace, joy, and happiness.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Welcome. You have reached A Gator in Maine.

Our latest hiatus continues.  We will continue with an occasional picture change and add a short comment or two once in a while.

Happy Holiday Season, including A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday night includes the annual trip around the world of one of my favorites:  Santa Claus.  When we wake up Tuesday morning, we'll discover that he's left some real nice stuff under the real Christmas trees if, of course, we have been good little boys and girls.


There are many places on line where you and your kids can follow Santa Claus's flight.  Here's a couple ways to reach one of them, the "official" one: or on Facebook at


I hope you will find that special item, the one you just must have (or want) under your Tree or in your carefully hung stocking.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome. You have reached A Gator in Maine.

For anyone wondering, circumstances have caused me to put this blog on the "back burner" for a while. We will continue with an occasional picture change.

Happy Holiday Season, including A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Last Monday, we had low hopes of a White Christmas, but rain for most of the rest of the week ended any little hope we had as that rain has eliminated all the snow from our yard.  Our eye is now on Tuesday when, we're told, there a very slight chance of some snow showers which could at least give us some Christmas White.  We're not holding our collective breaths, though.  Meanwhile, we can celebrate sort of a White Christmas by eyeing our annual Christmas Village which includes some "Fresh Fallen Snow" from Department 56.
And since this is the Christmas season, we'll say one last "Goodbye" to our daughter's Golden Retriever.  Haley (on right above making play plans with our Golden last summer) was the sister to our Mariah.  Haley unexpectedly passed away on Nov. 28th.  All of us in our little Gator in Maine Congregation will miss her this Christmas Day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Welcome. You have reached A Gator in Maine.

For anyone wondering, circumstances have caused me to put this blog on the "back burner" for a while. We will continue with an occasional picture change.

Happy Holiday Season, including A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Dec. 17th:  Not too bad outside our house when we awoke this morning.  I would have been happier if the snow had held off for another week so we'd get a White Christmas.  Meanwhile, our 9-year-old Golden Retriever was surprised when she went outside.  She did her AM duty and came right back into the house.
Stay safe while driving/walking today and cleaning out your yards.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Welcome. You have reached A Gator in Maine.

For anyone wondering, circumstances have caused me to put this blog on the "back burner" for a while. We will continue with an occasional picture change.

Happy Holiday Season, including A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The Main Village from our annual Department 56 display.
By the way, we're looking at the snowy forecast with mixed emotions.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Welcome.  You have reached A Gator in Maine.

For anyone wondering, circumstances have caused me to put this blog on the "back burner" for a while.  We will continue with an occasional picture change.

Happy Holiday Season, including A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
A Skating Party scene designed by our daughter from our Christmas Village 2012 .
Edited Sunday evening to add:  For anyone interested, there's a fascinating story about Charles Dickens' visit to Portland in March of 1868 on  He was in Portland to read from, what else?, A Christmas Carol.  You can find staff writer Bob Keyes story in the "Life and Culture" section on
From the Dickens' Collection, a portion of our Department 56 Christmas display, is a version of Charles Dickens reading his Christmas Carol.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Welcome to Gator in Maine.

Charles Dickens reads his A Christmas Carol

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December has arrived and we're just looking forward to a good month.  It'll be a relatively quiet one here on A Gator in Maine.

We are updating our pictures of Village 2012 to see if we can't get some clearer shots.  If we have success, we'll update what you have seen as well as the pictures on my personal web site.  Here's one new one:

From our Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" collection.
I have a sad note to add this season, however.  Mariah's (our Gator Golden) sister unexpectedly passed into Doggy Heaven.  Haley belonged to our daughter and visited us often.  The two dogs really loved each other and loved romping in our back yard.  Our daughter has lost a wonderful companion and she will be missed.
"Haley" Oct. 6, 2003 - Nov. 28, 2012
You were a very good girl and a super companion.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our seasonal celebration begins; the Village is Lit

The Celebration of the Christmas Season has begun in the Gator Home.  Our combination of the Victorian Series and the Charles Dickens Series of the Department 56© collectibles was completed Thanksgiving morning and the official lighting of the Village was held Thanksgiving evening.
Every structure, all the people, 90% of the trees, all accessories except a skating pond and a cemetery for the A Christmas Carol scene, is from the Department 56 collections.  We even use Department 56 "Fresh Fallen Snow" to give the display a winter look.
It is a large display covering homemade tables along three of the four walls in our living room.  Sadly for me, I have lost most of my steadiness over my three-quarters century of life and my camera is of the small, inexpensive variety.  These sample pictures aren't the greatest, but they will give you an idea of the display.
The first picture is that of this year's focus piece (although most of our visitors consider the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol scene to be the real highlight.  The pieces in it, including Scrooge and Marley's warehouse, the homes of Nephew Fred and Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim's home, the cemetery, and other structures and accessories from the story to be the highlight.
This sample ends with the Department 56 Christmas Tree.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Village completion close; on target for Thanksgiving

Edited Thanksgiving PM:  The Village has been completed.  I'll have some final photos here later this weekend.  Now, we return to the original post.

November is a busy month for this Gator Congregation.  The Dad of the family also has been undergoing some health issues which has consumed a lot of time visiting, so far, three doctors and undergoing a series of tests.  I'm not doctor shopping.  The first was to my PCP who scheduled me for tests from two different specialists.  We think the problem has been identified but one final CAT (I think it's really CTA) Scan has been slated.  This septuagenarian stuff isn't an easy ride.

We could have finished our Village 2012 this past weekend if we had wanted to spend just another hour on it.  But football was beginning and the Old Gator does have his priorities.  The Village is a creation using Department 56 structures and accessories including vendors, people, trees and snow from the company's Victorian and Dickens collections.

We start each year on Nov. 11th with a goal of lighting the Village Thanksgiving Weekend.  We will meet our goal this year.
This a look at the main section, completed Sunday, but apparently I didn't have my camera straight or the settings correct.  But it does give you an idea.  Missing are the trees in the front section although you can see then on the mountain in the upper left corner.  Also missing is the skirt we use to hide the underpinnings.
This is looking across the Main's mountain to the front window which houses the Dickens' A Christmas Carol story.  All except that front above have been "treed."  All we have left to do is place trees there and then my wife and daughter will run a skirt about the base.  The final activity before lighting is letting the Department 56 Fresh Fallen Snow fall throughout the Village to complete the Winter Wonderland look. 

What's left should take about an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, and we plan to do it Thursday while the pies and turkey are cooking.  We could "light" the Village Thursday afternoon but haven't decided if we'll do it then or follow the schedule and do it this weekend.

Our next post here will be late in the weekend or next Monday morning and we'll give you a small look at the finished product.  In the Meantime, I hope you have a most Happy Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Village construction continues; Could be finished this weekend.

This has been a rather busy week for me as I've been working on getting a personal health problem resolved.  Nevertheless, work on our annual Christmas Village has continued. 

As you've read in recent offerings, we construct a Department 56 Victorian/Dickens Village as the major part of our Christmas season celebration.  We begin on Nov. 11th with the goal of lighting the Village during the weekend following Thanksgiving.   It remains up until early January.

In our last post, we gave you a progress report of what we accomplished the first weekend of work.  Today's offering will be brief due to other circumstances.  We have made progress, however.

First, our depiction of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, which we place annually in our front window, is nearly ready for the trees and snow and final tweaking.

We also have the final section base ready for the addition of structures, accessories including people, vendors, animals, skating pond, and other things.
I'm told there's a small possibility we may complete the project this weekend, a full week ahead of schedule.  If that does happen, we will wait until Thanksgiving for the official lighting of the Village.
I hope you have the opportunity to fully enjoy this beautiful but chilly November weather this weekend.  This is really quite a spell of good weather.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas Village 2012 is underway

I just can't resist making a quick political comment.  We've heard all election season long that voter laws, such as photo I.D. and proof of citizenship are not needed because there's simply no voter fraud in the U.S.  Stories abound in the news media about "problems."  Here are just some examples of those "problems," but admittedly a biased view.

Imagine that little county in Florida which had a measly 141% of its registered voters willing to cast votes.  And that's just one of the voter frauds we don't have.

And here's another story we won't take too seriously...citizens in 20 states are petitioning the feds to secede from the Union.

Enough of political stuff...for now.

As we mentioned over the past weekend, the family has begun construction om our 2012 Christmas Village.  The Village is an annual event which grew from just one Department 56 Lit Piece to a collection that can't all be displayed in one season.  We begin on Veterans' Day, Nov. 11th, and plan completion no later than the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The Village remains on display until after the New Year.

We made terrific progress this past weekend.  Here are some sample construction pictures:

One section is a space behind a couch next to a wall.  As you can see here, the area has been cleaned to make room for the Village.

In the past, that little table has been stored under the display, but this year we've moved it to make room to crawl under the frame to manage the lights.

The frame for the Village is assembled out in the room and then carefully placed behind the couch.  Each year, the frame is disassembled and stored.  That makes the construction much easier each year.  Once the frame is in place and the corner piece (way back near the window) is attached, it is ready for a plywood top and then, as you'll see below, some Styrofoam to serve as a snow covered base.

Over there on the left is rough look at how the base appears when finished.  You may notice some holes throughout the base which is where the wiring for the lights gets hidden.  Those small extra pieces you can see will be used for elevations to give the finished display some depth.
Altough they may not be in the final position just yet, here we've added some structures as we move pieces around to create a Village atmosphere.  This is a beginning and far from a completed product.
Our signature corner section will give you an idea of the many different accessories we include.  There are people, vendors, trees, other accessories, and Department 56 Fresh Fallen Snow (not included here, yet).  Of course, you can still see the frame here, but it will be concealed with a skirt, the last item to go on the display next week.
If you are a Village follower, you may remember the focus piece last year was Princess Diane's home, Kensington Palace.  The focal point this year is another palace, a Department 56 numbered piece, Ramsford Palace.
I'll have more construction pictures in another, later post.

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Great Weekend

This weekend begins another happy time in our household.  There are two reasons for our joy.  The second one is our traditional beginning of an annual Christmas Village we construct as our way of celebrating Christmas.  Here is just one scene from a village that is assembled on all four walls of our living room;
The village uses collectable lighted structures from the Department 56 Dickens Village Series, Victorian Village Series, and an assortment of other Department 56 pieces such as people, trees, street vendors, animals, and many, many more.  Even the Fresh Fallen Snow is from Department 56.

Every year we begin construction on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11th, which falls on Sunday this year.  Our daughter has a long weekend from her job so we decided to take advantage and start building Saturday.  Our goal each year is to officially light the completed village during the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We’ve only missed our goal once, back in 2002 when I had a massive heart attack.

I’ll give you a brief look at the completed village on Nov. 25th and perhaps some progress views along the way.  You can also see representative samples of last year’s completed village here.
This is also the weekend when we honor the great American men and women for their service and for many, the ultimate sacrifice to keep the United States safe.  We thank all of the veterans from the beginning of our country and through today into the future for protecting this nation both at home and abroad through both peace and conflict.  Thank you.

The first reason and my main reason we are so happy this weekend, however, is strictly personal.  My wife and I are celebrating our 51st wedding anniversary.   
We had met in 1960 shortly after I returned to Maine following graduation from the University of Florida.  I told you a lot more about that story in previous year’s anniversary posts.  She has been my life ever since and her strength and support through several severe medical episodes is why I’m still here today.  I’d like to think I returned a little of that a couple years ago when we went through her cancer together.
So this weekend, the 11th to be exact, we celebrate 51 years of learning, growing, supporting, and loving. We’re planning on more. Happy Anniversary, Sandra, I love you and I’m so glad you’re with me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Phew! Time to move forward.

The battle is over, but I’d bet the war is far from being over.  That would be a safe bet.  After all, it’s about politics and in politics battle winners rarely simply walk away with the spoils.  The debates, the controversies, the ever changing of America will continue.  And so it is.
It’s hard to believe that we’re well into November and that Christmas is now only about a month and a half away.  We’ve got some stuff to get through in that time, though.  Next Sunday is Veterans’ Day when we honor all the men and women who have served in the Military since our country began. 

And, of course, there’s Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 22nd, another day of Thanks, but this for our own blessings that we have received during the past year. 

In my day, the Christmas Shopping season began the day after Thanksgiving and continued right into Christmas Eve.  In those days, the time was even shorter as so-called Blue Laws prevented many department stores from opening on Sundays all during the year.  Those laws have long since been eliminated as has that wonderful, happy short season of shopping. 
Shucks, the Christmas sales and decorations began showing up in our local stores as far back as last summer.  Even the Gator family begins its household decorations this coming weekend.

 I’ve heard some folk say they’re now anxiously looking forward to the arrival of some snow.  Snow in November is not uncommon in Maine.  I’m not among those snow-wishing folk, though.  Snow now scares me as my bones have become more fragile with age and I don’t want to fall and break something.  I do still love snow, especially snow that gently falls Dec. 24th and leaves a nice, pretty, clean white coating for Christmas itself and then leaves the on the 26th.  I call that a good snow season.
Wow!  Have I ever gotten away from the present!  A change of pace is nice, though, don’t you think?


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Polls have Closed.
Voting in Maine has ended, as it has in most of the Eastern Time Zone.
Thank you for your careful consideration of the people and issues and taking the time to vote.

Vote Today!!!

Election Day 2012

Today is a critical day for your local community, for Maine, and for the United States.  If you haven't yet had a chance to visit your polling place, please find the time and do it today.  Your vote truly counts.

Vote Today!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Election Day

Tuesday is Election Day.  At long last this way too long campaign season will come to an end for this time around.  I don't think it will ever return to a reasonable time as too many people want to take over America and the only way that can happen is to see how much money can be spent to control the outcomes.

That's too bad.  Our country is taking on a whole new direction similar to the directions of other failed countries around the world.  Instead of continuing to grow as a leader, we are falling back into being just average.  The ideals that made this country great are slowly eroding away and I feel sad about that.

I have already voted.  I'd bet that anyone who has read these comments over the last several years already knows how my ballot was completed.  But I'll jump in again to let you know one final time.

There are a couple of unofficial "licenses" that may affect my thoughts here.  One of the licenses is called "poetic" or "literary" license.  The other is a "political" license.  There's really not much difference between the two as it gives writers and politicians a "license" to express themselves as they deem necessary.

Politicians and people like me often write or say what they honestly believe even though often people who don't agree with us simply say we're lying.  You've read here before that two sides often have differing versions of the truth and the real facts lie somewhere in between.  In politics it is the negotiations of the sides, we call that "bi-partisanship," that lead to a compromise, probably a "real" truth.  That's the way it should be and that's when government works best.

Unfortunately, today's society has developed into hard and fast sides.  Both sides have differing views and they will not change.  That leads to name-calling and failure.  And government slides.  That's when outside radicals, both left and right, take over and the greatness that once was America continues to fall into that European model I mentioned earlier.

This has been one of the dirtiest elections I've seen.  It may even rank as the worst.  Both the Republicans and the Democrats have engaged in the debauchery, but from the mailings I've received I'd have to say the Democrats are by far the leaders of the pack.  The outright lies, personal attacks, and viciousness have ruined any credibility in the process.  I won't say the Republicans haven't also engaged in questionable campaigning, but not to the extent of the Dems.

I said very early in this year's process, which, I think, began at least two years ago, that one major flaw of the Republicans is the inability to fight the attacks.  It now appears that I was right, especially in the Charlie Summers campaign for U.S. Senate.  He learned nothing from the failure of Dean Scontras two years ago when he maintained a high road to loss.  Summers this year simply tried to maintain the high road and never countered the attacks on him.  Republicans don't know how.

Angus King, on the other hand, who started out saying he wouldn't go negative, began to lose to that high road so on the attack he went.  Following the Democrats mantra of say it often enough, loud enough, and the people will begin to believe it.  Attack without real threat of response and the election will be his.  (King, incidentally, may be unenrolled, but he is a Democrat.)  It appears now that his getting into the Dem playbook has led to success.

The two House seats are interesting.  In the First District, gazillionairesse Chellie Pingree Sussman hasn't needed to go negative.  She is capable of it as she showed Scontras, but the Republican candidate doesn't seem to be much of a threat.

The Second District is a different story.  Mike Michaud has held the seat for a long time and incumbents are difficult to replace.  Kevin Raye seems to be doing a credible job of it and the one totally false ad my Michaud over a kitchen in the Maine Senate was wasn't might be the difference.  I have no feeling right now about that outcome.

You know I always vote against bond issues.  Most voters still don't understand that bonding is debt that must be paid back through our taxes.  Bonds are loans, or mortgages, that have to be repaid with interest over several years thus increasing the cost of that new debt.  Bonds look like they're something the state is selling to get money.  Technically, I suppose, they are; but they're only paper.  Perhaps if the ballot question was rephrased from asking voters if they wanted to sell bonds to asking them if they wanted to borrow more money, the outcome might be different.  Probably not.

Fifty-one years ago this month, the man stood before the girl about to be my bride and me and finalized the occasion with, "I now pronounce you husband and wife."  It was "husband" and "wife," male and female.  He didn't say, "I now pronounce you spouse and spouse."  Nor was it, "Marital unit 1 and marital unit 2."  Nor any other combination.  It was husband and wife.  My values have not changed.  If anything, they've strengthened over the years as my wife and I have grown together.

Same sex marriage is just another step in the attempts to change our culture.  "There's no hidden agenda," we're told over and over again, just like those stories the Dems have learned to tell.  I'm not going to challenge whether or not the accounts expressed in the Vote No ads are correct.  Changing marriage in Maine will be just the first goal.  Edited Fri 5:45 PM...I hope those of you who believe the new culture will never appear in school saw the news on Ch. 6 this evening about the incident at Gorham Middle School.  Whern I added this, it had not yet been posted on WCSH6, but I'd bet it will be soon.  End edit.

Those things in other states (and now taking place in other countries) won't happen in Maine.  Well, they've already started.  Just two or three years ago one local legislator introduced a bill in our state legislature to remove the terms sons and daughters from our legal way of life.  Fortunately, at least in my opinion, the effort to officially rename them to Unit 1 and Unit 2 failed.

A difference between my generation and today's much younger ones is the teaching of history in our public schools.  We used to learn it.  One of the greatest of all ancient empires fell, primarily due to three things.  Society today is already facing two of them, perhaps even all three.  I'm not going to attempt to teach a history lesson here as you would better understand the events if you researched/studied them yourself.  Too bad we can't learn from the past.  Unless we do, our destiny is sealed.

I would suggest to you our best bet to return America to its greatness would be the election of Mitt Romney as President.  He wasn't my first choice, or my second.  But he is what the Republican Party has to offer this year.  I fear greatly what will happen to the United States if he is not elected.  Most of the fears I expressed four years ago have come or are coming to pass.

If you haven't already done so, please vote Tuesday. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some of us were spared by Sandy

I'd say we've gone through a couple of interesting days.  Hurricane Sandy paid the Eastern U.S. a visit and left behind a huge path of destruction.  I feel badly for the people, especially in New Jersey and New York, whose lives have changed.

Maine missed the brunt of Sandy but many trees were knocked down.  A few of them smashed into homes and other buildings.  Power was lost in about fifty thousand places and power company officials estimate it could be Friday before all the power is fully restored.

The Gator Homestead was among the lucky places that did get some high winds and heavy rain, but real damage avoided us.  I lost a couple limbs and had to drag them to a pile to be chipped later with my tractor, but that was extremely minor compared to other places.

We're told by the weather folk that showers could still come ashore Wednesday and perhaps Thursday, but for us life seems to have returned to normal.  The good people south of us can't say that as it could be weeks or longer before normalcy gets to New York and New Jersey and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.

Of all the comments I heard from the folks interviewed on TV news programs who live in the disaster area, I never heard once, "Oh, woe is me!  Why hasn't the federal government come in to take care of us?"  We did hear that in the aftermath of another hurricane a few years ago.

Now the election is just a few days away.  I have been thinking about it for the last few days and will have my final election comments over the weekend.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Updated Tuesday

Watching the TV this morning, we saw the devastating destruction along the Eastern Seabord from the storm.  Costs for repair will be in the billions.  Many communities and neighborhoods throughout the region are without power this morning and if you haven't seen the areas, especially in New York City and New Jersey, you should spend some time on the news channels.

The Gator Homestead was a lot luckier than many people.  We never lost our power, our basement is completely dry (It isn't always after such massive storms), and the only damage we've seen so far is from one front lawn tree that lost a couple of branches.  There's nothing here for me to photograph that would be unusual.  Perhaps that in itself is the picture.

My Fearless Friend, who lives in another community, said he did lose power last night and by early today it hadn't returned; but he has a generator that has provided him with necessary electricity.

One of our retired friends who lives in Florida but comes to Maine for the summer left over the weekend for his home.  He emailed me saying he had expected to see lots of hints of Sandy along the way but saw none and had clear driving all the way to Florida's West Coast.  One sight, he said, was impressive.  Along one of the Interstates travelling north was a convoy of at least 50 utility trucks with their light flashing heading into the Northeast to help with the restoration of power.

So, so far our little place has been lucky and we've even seen peeks of sun this morning.  We are still getting a few gusts, however.  Now, we continue with the original "Sandy" post . . .

Among the many things I'm not is being a meteorologist.  I can, however, listen to those who are and be reasonably certain that we're in for at least a couple of anxious days.  A Gal Named Sandy will be influencing our weather and the things we do beginning Monday.

Sandy was a hurricane that promised all last week to be a real major storm for the Eastern United States.  We won't really know until late Tuesday or Wednesday just how "major" it truly turns out to be.  What we do know is that our section of the world probably will miss the real brunt of the storm.  Southern Maine will, though, get some pretty hefty winds with gusts into the 50s or 60s, perhaps even a 70, MPH guests.  The winds are expected to begin creeping in late Sunday and intensifying all day Monday and peak while we sleep Monday night.

"While we sleep."  Sure.  Knowing the people and pup in this house, there'll probably not be much sleeping.  I know I don't do too well when I can hear heavy winds howling outside.  Our Golden will sense our anxiety and so she'll also be roaming around the house all night, probably with the plan of protecting us.

The rains are also expected to be rather heavy at times beginning late Monday and continuing into Tuesday morning.  At least one local TV forecaster is saying by late Tuesday afternoon, we could be outside assessing what we hope will be the non-damage.

It looks like much of the northern Eastern Seaboard from Boston down through Delaware and a long way inland is going to get the direct hit and have most of the wind, rain and damage from the storm.

There have been seven hurricanes strike Maine in my lifetime, some a little more devastating than others.  The first was only known as The Hurricane of '38 in 1938 (Yes, I was around then, but just a toddler).  Carol visited us at the end of August in 1954 followed just a couple weeks later by Edna.  I left to live in Florida shortly after those but returned to Maine for good just before Donna hit in 1960.  1985 brought us Gloria and Bob rambled through in 1991.

It was during Bob when I had my most interesting hurricane experience.  I was photographing the scene around Wells for a Portland TV station.  I stood at the water's edge to get a shot of a reporter and town official looking over the incoming storm and did not see a shoulder high wave racing toward me.  The other two people shouted but I didn't hear them and was almost swept away with a very expensive TV news camera.  Fortunately, I was able to hold the camera well above my head while I got soaked by the ocean wave.  To say it was a cold, wet ride back to the TV station in Portland might be an understatement.

Now we're carefully watching the weather to see what Sandy will bring us.  I hope you'll stay safe and damage free. 

By the way, did I mention my wife's name is . . . ?  No, I'd better not go there; she might not like being compared with a hurricane.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ready for winter's fireplace; political ads; storm coming?

First of all, The Gator Congregation has voted.  We went to Town Hall Thursday and correctly cast our votes for the upcoming Nov. 6th winners.  I certainly don't want to influence you; so if you would like to know for whom we voted, you can read the list of winner on Nov. 7th.

If you have read this blog over the last several years, you know how I voted on the five referendum questions.  All five had the "No" hole filled in.  Those votes won't necessarily be revealed on Nov. 7th which is why I told you.  I can think of only one bonding question in the last many voting sessions that has been defeated.  Voters simply don't understand that bonds are loans that have to be repaid with interest thus adding to the taxes and debt.

I'd like to give some praise to the three ladies working in the voting room at Scarborough Town Hall when we were there.  They were simply super nice, which is, I think, a requirement for anyone working in Town Hall.  I've never run into anyone there in any department that wasn't helpful and nice.  (I'll exclude management types and councilors here as I haven't done business with them.)

There is one exception to the nice ladies, however.  The one who took our completed ballots refused to hit the button on her computer that would stop all political advertising and robocalls to my home.  She just smiled at my request.  I was joking about her being an exception.  She was as nice as all the rest in Town Hall.

I awoke Thursday with a huge amount of self-pity.  I hurt.  We received a cord of fireplace wood Wednesday and spent a few hours stacking it.  When I saw that fully loaded truck coming down the driveway, I thought, "Holy smoke!  That's a lot of wood!"  The wood guy reminded me that I had bought only 1/2 cords the last two times.  We almost ran out last winter so I went for the full cord this time.

Now for folk that haven't crossed the three-quarter century mark and without a whole heap of physical problems, especially spinal stenosis, a single cord isn't such a challenge.  Of course both my wife and daughter helped, but the lifting, twisting, piling, etc. I did resulted in a very sore back. 

Now, though, the wood has been neatly stacked out of the weather and is ready to save us some money on the oil bill this winter.  There's some of it right over there on the left.

Of course the Golden did her part in helping us.  She picked up little twigs and piled them neatly out back in "her place."

That built in the chair heating pad sure did feel good Thursday morning.

Speaking of political ads, I found it amusing when Angus King had one of a close-up of him saying directly to us that he did not leave a deficit when he left office.  The very next item on the TV station was a Republican ad using a graphic of the Portland Press Herald proclaiming he did leave a deficit and former Governor Baldacci speaking critically of the budget hole left him when he replaced King in the governor's office.

I also find another King ad to be amusing.  It asks who we would rather have as our Senator:  Charlie Summers who he says has been bought by out of state interests to do their bidding or himself but sort of forgets to mention his trips to Washington and New York seeking money.  I wonder if his talking about being bought is from his own experience.

I'm fascinated by the Democrats' consistent pulling out the old "Beware of what the Republicans will do to you" agenda.  For example, do they really think that I, who is a senior, believes that anything that Charlie Summers, just one of 100 Senators if elected, can do that would be worse than the 720 billion dollar cut in Medicare that Pres. Obama has included in his Obamacare?

Another ad that raises questions is the Mike Michaud one that tries to convince us that Kevin Raye will only look to fill his own wallet if elected by pointing out a kitchen Raye allegedly had made in the state Senate office area.  News media fact checking shows the kitchen shown in the ad is totally bogus and that a coffee area, which did cost a few thousand dollars to renovate, is used by all Senators.  I heard that even Michaud has said the picture used was from a photo gallery.

Has Michaud ever explained his taxpayer funded lease of a car, reportedly the most expensive lease of any Congress Critter?  By the way, both the Bangor Daily News and the Lewiston Sun-Journal have endorsed Kevin Raye to represent Maine's Second Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

One ad for President is very poorly edited, I think.  It looks like that Obama ad against Romney, the one featuring the CBS 60 Minutes guy is very obviously edited attempting to get Romney to provide an answer to a question that had been asked earlier.  Maybe the white space was intended to show it was edited.

Campaign ads are interesting.  As are the non-ads.  Why haven't the Democrats helped Cynthia Dill in her campaign for the Senate?  It almost looks like the Democrats have thrown one of their own to the wolves to support someone else.  But then, King has been a Democrat for a very long time, even though he "left" the party to run as an Independent to avoid a primary several years ago.

We're being warned of a rather large storm that might hit us next week.  Or just graze us.  Or, perhaps even miss us.  In any event we should be taking precautions as Hurricane Sandy is, at least, approaching the New England area, possibly a direct hit on Maine.  We will get some nasty weather one way or another and preparation is paramount.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gators, Sox, Pats, Politics

Fall is slowly slipping away even though winter is still a couple months away.  Most of the trees in my yard have dropped their leaves, although one or two are holding on a little longer.  The sun shining through this one just outside our front door this Sunday morning gave us a memory of the beauty of this season.
Even our Golden Retriever Mariah enjoys taking advantage of this weather.
I'm thankful this week is bringing some rather nice weather to Southern Maine.  My winter supply of fireplace wood is scheduled for delivery.  At my age and mobility it's going to take some of the week to get the cord stacked out of the weather so it'll keep dry.  We've been buying our wood from Atlantic Firewood in Cumberland, ME, for the last few years and it has been excellent wood.  We expect no less this year and that will help keep our heating costs down.  But it sure does create a lot of work for this lazy old man. 
The sporting world has caught my attention this week.  First, of course, is the Gator Football Team.  Florida was one of the dominant teams in the early to mid 2000s.  That's the first time I've written that number and it looks weird to me.  Doesn't seem like the '90s, or '60s.  Yet '00s' looks awkward.  Hmmm.  I wonder what the correct way is. But I think you get the picture and I digress.
The last couple or three seasons have been rather "iffy" in the success column for the Gators.  They've gone through a couple of coaches, including Urban Meyer who brought the University to a couple of national championships before he seemed to lose his confidence under the guise of sickness.  Now we have Will Muschamp whose first season last year was less than spectacular.
One year later, the Florida Gators are back in the thick of things, undefeated after eight weeks, one of which was a bye week.  They're near the top of the major ratings, #3 in the AP and USAToday polls and #2 in the prelim of the BCS standings (#1 in the BCS computer ratings), and have returned, at least for now, to their dominance.  CBS, incidentally, in their promo for the coming weekend game against Georgia, said the Gators were #2.  If Florida wins that game, they'll be the SEC Eastern Division winner.  Once again, it's fun for us Gators to watch a game on the TV.
That brings us to the Red Sox with a new manager.  It was announced over the weekend that former Sox pitching coach John Farrell will be the manager for the next three years.  He'll replace Bobby Valentine after just one year of his two year contract.  Farrell was the Sox's choice last year but Farrell was manager of the Toronto Blue Jays and unavailable.  He was this year, too, but the Jays traded Farrell for utility infielder Mike Aviles.
We're really excited and happy about this hire.  After all, Farrell led the Jays to a better record than the Sox had last year and just beat Boston out of the distinction of being the cellar dweller.  In fact, Farrell led the Jays to two losing seasons in his two years in Toronto.  But he knows the Sox and understands the mystique that is Boston and he knows how to lose, so we're told he's a good hire.  We'll see.
Naturally, we have to mention the Patriots.  It appears as if the Pats took a page out of the Red Sox plan book, but they forgot to read the page first.  I think the one they ended up with was the one that said, "To successfully blow a season, do this: . . ."  Either that or the Patriots simply forgot that a football game consists of four quarters and not three.  Seems to me that after blowing the last quarter in their last several losses, someone would consider spending some time practicing to play that fourth quarter.  At least New England got this game into OT and won it with a field goal.
 Finally, since we're just now a couple weeks away from the election, here's a note about the election.  Does anyone find as sort of hypocritical Angus King's latest political ad that berates the use of  "out of state" money to "buy" this election by Republicans?  It seems to me, and I haven't done any fact checking on this, he is spending much more money than the Republicans and most of that is from "out of state."  There's even some rumor that the Americans Elect PAC, which is urging his support, is financed by several New York millionaires/billionaires and that King himself is responsible for the PAC.  If that turns out to be true, then it's illegal, according to election laws.
So the question is, if so-called out of state money is buying Republican candidate Charlie Summers, hasn't so-called Independent candidate King already been bought?  It would appear to me that King may be accurate in that money from away is truly trying to buy the Maine Senate seat so those investors can control even more of America.  Only it's not the Republican candidate that was for sale.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Inspiration didn't come

I'm sitting here trying to get an inspiration for this weekend.  Nothing's coming.

Most of the stuff I frequently think about is all in the past right now.  Three of the four debates are in the book with just one more scheduled for Monday night.  I couldn't fairly discuss either the two presidential debates or the veep one.  I only watched a few minutes of them.  I find the kind of demonstrations that are called debates today to be rather non-informative. 

The little I've seen so far only solidified my findings.  Yes, an argument could be made that the perhaps ten minutes I watched the first one, the fifteen or twenty minutes I watched the veep one, or the twenty or twenty-five minutes I watched the last one is not sufficient to make an honest judgment; but then at my age and predetermined feelings of the debaters, watching the whole waste probably wouldn't have changed anything.

None of that which I watched in the three so far would come even remotely close to what debates were when I was a tad younger.  Moderators moderated; debaters gave their statements, then listened to the counter arguments; and sometimes even had another round of civil rebuttal.    We were able to listen to rational sides and, coupled with our own backgrounds, either find an argument to support our feelings or be persuaded the opposition was correct.

This year, within moments of the first question the debates fell way back to the days of early debates in America.  About all that was missing was the "back to back we faced each other" and the guns.

The three moderators so far this year lost control of the respective debates almost immediately after they introduced the participants.  At least during the part of the veep candidate debate Congressman Ryan showed some sign of control and decor.  Of course the constant snickering, laughing, and body language of his opponent made that difficult.  Those distractions were all permitted by the moderator and the media helped emphasize the utter rudeness by the candidate.

A college professor which I admired very much once explained that people in serious discussion often resort to that activity to hide their inability to offer real ideas or arguments to support their beliefs, often simply because they don't have any.  The Vice President proved the wisdom of my old professor.

I almost wanted to watch the whole last debate only to see if the President would ever answer a question.  To me avoiding an answer only demonstrates the the person doesn't have one.

One last chance to see a full debate happens Monday.  Will I give up Monday Night Football to watch it?  Probably not.  Except I might watch the beginning long enough to see if, finally, a moderator moderates.

Another item from the recent past I might have commented on:  The Earthquake.  My house shook as it had never shaken before.  Until I saw it on the TV, I didn't know what happened.  My wife and I made all the rounds of the house to see if anything had exploded.  We then thought it might have been a plane crash.  Our daughter called to make sure we were all right and that's when she told us it was on TV and we learned it had been an earthquake.

I had never been in an earthquake before.  Well, not quite true.  I was around when the one in 1940 hit, but I was just a trifle young and honestly neither remember it nor remember ever hearing my family discussing it.  My wife reminded me there had been one in the late 1950s and the TV later told us it was 1957.  I never experienced that one which I can say with certainty as I was living in Florida in 1957.

And finally, the other "big" story of the week:  I was not on "The List."  I won't be on the next release, either.  The only TV news truck I'll ever see outside my house is the Publishers' Clearing House one delivering my million dollars.  Perhaps I'll increase the chance of that by sending in my whatever one sends in if I ever get another one.

I hope you have a super weekend.  I'll try to spend some time getting an inspiration for next week.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Yellow Dots

My wife and I both have a car.  Mine is very old, hers was new a year ago.  We added something to them over the weekend.  We have a yellow dot on our cars' back windows.

The Cumberland County Yellow Dot Program is designed to give first responders a quick, easy heads up in case the vehicle sporting a yellow dot is in an emergency situation.  The dot tells first responders that a yellow folder is in the car's glove compartment and that folder contains important health information.

That information could very well save a life, especially if the driver is unconscious or confused.  The emergency personnel immediately have access to vital information such as heart trouble, diabetes, or any other health condition that could hinder immediate first aid.  In my situation, for example, paramedics would know I have an implanted defibrillator.

The pamphlet in the yellow folder contains a picture of the participant and emergency contact information including names, addresses, and phone numbers.  There's a section for medications being taken, allergies, a long checklist of medical conditions including spaces for conditions not listed.  There are spaces for the names of your physicians and contact information as well as your hospital preference.

You're not restricted to just one information sheet, except a photo the owner of the information must be on the sheet.  In our case we have the identification for both of us in both of our cars so we're giving first responders all the quick information we can if an emergency occurs. 

The Yellow Dot Program started last Saturday and several places were established in the County to provide the opportunity of join it. I did it at the Scarborough Police Station and the volunteers there made the process so easy and simple.  They were a joy.  It is my understanding, though, that an appointment is necessary henceforth to become a participant.

Due to a generous donation by the Town of Gorham and several business sponsors such as Wal-mart and Moody's Collision Centers, participation in the program is free.  Among other business contributors are ODAT Machine, Inc., In-Home Senior Services, Home Instead Senior Care, Gorham Westbrook Triad, Best Buy, Gorham Health Council, Full Court Press, and Rowe Ford Sales.

I highly recommend everyone's participation.  Just having that up-to-date information readily available for a first responder could save your life.  WCSH TV 6 had a story on the program during its weekend newscasts.

While we were there, we learned of another program that helps people at home.  We picked up a similar health information sheet provided by the Scarborough Public Safety Department.  Its eye-catching color will give those emergency responders the same information if you're at home when a situation arises.

It's my understanding that hope exists for the Yellow Dot Program to spread throughout the state.

This Scarborough program along with the Cumberland County Yellow Dot Program can give you peace of mind that mistakes can possibly be avoided in an emergency.


Friday, October 12, 2012


Creating advertisements for political offices must be difficult.  The creators also seem to have a complete freedom to say whatever they want, true, exaggerated, or just plain false.  Another bad part of the campaign advertising is not knowing who is responsible for them.  These are the ones created by PACs, or political action committees. 

The best I can figure is the purpose of a PAC isn't to give great support to a particular candidate but rather to rip apart someone they don't want as much as possible.  PACs, however, do not necessarily stop negative advertising, but most of the candidates' ads at least give some hints on how they stand on various issues.  All of the ads bought by candidates include the disclaimer "I'm [candidate] and I approve this message." 

Those ads by the PACs must identify the PAC but it seems to me that disclosure at the end is said so darn fast, and sometimes soft, that it's hard to know who the sponsor really is.  But even when you can identify the PAC, "The [PAC] is responsible for the content for this message and is not endorsed by any candidate," you still really don't know is footing the bill.

Just who is the National Republican Congressional Committee or the National Democrat Congressional Committee?  I may not have those two names absolutely correct but they're close.  On the surface, it seems obvious; but I'm not sure it is.  Also, we don't really know who is providing the funding for these organizations.  That should be public information, but you might learn that finding out may be a rather difficult task.

Now there's another one that has entered the Maine fray, Americans Elect.  It doesn't seem to be an attack dog but rather one to pay for supporting ads for one Independent candidate in Maine.  The Maine Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against that PAC because, says the MRP, it may have been formed by the candidate or at least by some named members of his campaign.  If that turns out to be true, it might be a violation of the campaign rules.

Those two national party groups have an interesting road.  One group, the democratic one, is trying to make Charlie Summers, the Republican Senatorial candidate, out to be a real bad guy and will cause lots of nasty things if he's elected to the Senate next month.  Their problem is about all they've been able to do is pull out old anti-Republican messages, you know, like the elderly will die, the children will suffer, fire and police protection will become non-existent, things like that if not necessarily those.  They show a bunch of marching men and tell us that all Summers wants to do is fall into step with them.

On the other hand, the republican group can actually pull out the record of Angus King, a former Maine governor running as an Independent.  Events are showing us Mr. King doesn't enjoy having his past brought out.  After all, say the Republicans, his policies as governor are why we have high taxation and growing welfare and economic problems the state is facing today.

What I never see is a discussion of whether King is truly an Independent or truly a Democrat.  His actions would hint the answer.  A few of us still remember that when King first decided to run for Governor, he was a Democrat.  He unenrolled from that party to run as an Independent to avoid having to face a very popular Democrat in the primary that year.  If I remember correctly, that popular Democrat's name was Brennan. 

I can't say too much about the Democrat candidate for Senator, Cynthia Dill.  There isn't too much to say except her ideas are a very long way from mine.  The PACs seem to be letting her take care of herself.

The speed of the election seems to be increasing as the days grow shorter between now and November 6th.  And by then a goodly number of us will already have cast our ballots.


Monday, October 8, 2012


I'm not a mathematician so I sometimes run into things that I totally don't understand,  and a search for an explanation has eluded me.  I hate not understanding something.  That something this time is the jobs report released last Friday.  I have no idea just how the figures are determined.  We were told that the unemployment fell from 8.1% to 7.8% in September.

Let's see.  According to government figures, September saw a weekly average of about 375,000 new applications for unemployment benefits.  If that average is correct, doesn't it mean that about one and a half million people made their initial application and thus lost their jobs?  We were told 114,000 new jobs were created so the unemployment rate dropped. 

I did hear a couple of "expert" reporters from CNN and MSNBC explain that the figures had to be correct because two different agencies contributed to them.  They said the agencies surveyed a large number of employers to learn about the jobs creation and a large number of families about people heading off to work.  What I didn't hear was how many of those surveyed were actually included and I didn't hear how many employers were not surveyed. The number of families reporting that members had returned to work was simply laughable.

These confusions along with a prediction from Rush Limbaugh last spring that this confusion would come at this time simply have me stumped.  I'm not suggesting the latest figures aren't accurate; I'm only saying I wish I had listened a lot more carefully way back when my teachers were instilling math concepts in me.

While we're discussing "numbers," let's look at some dollar ones.  I think the dollar numbers have reached such a height that very few people really comprehend them.  How many of us can really say we understand trillions of dollars.  It's just a number, isn't it?  Once we were past "billions," trillions became even easier.  I'm not sure that "millions" is truly understood as the vast majority of us won't reach that number of income in our lifetimes. 

But millions has become rather common in our discussions of salary because of all the folk we follow daily in the sports world.  It seems that the common salary for most professional athletes now ranges in the millions. 

Trillions, however, may still be so far out of comprehension that few of us relate to just how much money we, as citizens of the United States, owe, mostly to China.  The number grows by the second more than most of us earn in a given period. Have no misconceptions; we owe all that money.  Most of us really have no clue exactly what it all means.

Our state is also in deep debt for  money we must repay.  How many of us go to the polls on election day and approve the issuance of bonds to pay for many projects, admittedly most of which are important.  But, nevertheless, the issuance of bonds becomes our debt.

Having listened over the years to people talking about bonding, I have concluded without any real evidence that many people believe that bonds are simply "free" money.  It isn't.  A bond is a loan of money.  Like any personal loans, that money with interest must be paid back.  It isn't unlike a home loan or a car loan.  We want something and don't have enough money to pay for it so we borrow that money from a lending institution.  We must pay the money back with interest.  That interest is how the lending institution makes its money.

Over the years, and I can only think of one, perhaps a couple, when the state of Maine asked us to approve borrowing via bonds for, perhaps, school construction, roads and bridges, a variety of other projects including the acquisition of private land.  Not that it hasn't happened before because it most likely has, but I can think of only once in the last several years that we voters turned down a bond.

State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has posted a blog and sent an email to many folk explaining the bonds approved for the upcoming election.  He points out that the questions themselves lead to some of the confusion by taxpayers:  "Do you favor an $xxx million bond issue to provide funds for . . .?"  Do you notice the question never mentions borrowing money but only issuing bonds?  Unless one is thinking or paying attention, one might not think about paying the money back with interest.  And all that money to be paid back comes from us in the form of our paying taxes and interest.

The total we'll be asked to approve this year is 75 and three-quarter millions of dollars.  If we approve the questions, over the ten year loan period we'll have to pay all of it back plus another almost 20-million in interest.  We already owe more than $120 million to bond holders (lenders) and have another $41 million already approved but not yet borrowed on the books. 

Our state debt along with our national debt is just one of the reasons why our taxes are so high and destined to climb higher.  Yes, I know.  We won't pay back all that money in our time.  No.  We'll simply start our children and grandchildren in life with all that debt plus a lot more which will become their responsibility.

That, my friends, is why I never vote to approve any bonding.  Perhaps, though, I should reevaluate my thoughts.  After all, it's all just free money.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

A local injustice

A couple good events can be celebrated this Thursday morning.  The first debate is behind us and the Red Sox season has mercifully ended.

If you're looking in here for my reaction to the debate, you're out of luck.  My wife was called to work earlier than usual yesterday morning to put together her specialty at the place in which she works part time.  As a result we were up and about around 4 A.M.  As a result, I went to bed about nine last night and didn't watch the debate.  I haven't yet had time to absorb all the news coverage about it.  If I do, and I get moved, I'll edit this later on to possibly reflect some observation, but they won't be first hand, only as the news media wants me to be informed.

Updated Thursday PM:  The word from both democrat and republican pundits seems to indicate that Mitt Romney came out ahead after last night's debate.  End update.

Not since 1966 has the Red Sox had such a disastrous season.  In spite of the September collapse a year ago, the Sox opened this year with some new changes, both on and off the field.  Perhaps the biggest change was the hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager.  What we learned very early on was his basic philosophy:  My way or the highway.  We lost some really good players because they dared to get on Bobby V's list.  In fairness, some players were let go to other places that probably never should have been a Soxer in the first place.  Boston paid dearly for the management mistake.

Now the off-season has begun for the Red Sox so we'll be patient for a moment or two to see what happens, such as who they sign and who they unsign.

Updated Thursday PM:  That didn't take long.  The rumors proved to be correct as the Boston Red Sox fired manager Bobby Valentine today.  He will be paid next year's contracted $2.5 million.  It also appears that Dice-K is also gone.  End update. 

Another sports story caused me to do some thinking this week.  The State Champion Cheverus High School basketball team was stripped of their 2009-2011 season state title along with their Western Maine title because an ineligible player helped win them.  The school and its staff did nothing wrong.  In fact, they tried to play the game exactly according to the rules and self-reported the player to the Maine Principals' Association, the group that controls high school sports.

Like Cheverus, the MPA followed the rules and agreed with the suspension of the player which took place at the end of the semester just before the championship season began.  He had transferred to Cheverus from another country which had different sports seasons than those here.  As a result his eligibility ended.  Everything was handled correctly to here and the fairness of the sport in Maine was upheld.  We may or may not like the limited time Maine athletes are eligible for their sports, but all followed the rule and everyone understood it.

The parents of the young man, however, didn't agree with it and took the suspension to a local judge and was given a temporary restraining order forcing the team to return him to competition.  I'm sure the judge only wanted to look out for the fairness to the young man, but that decision has now proven to have made it unfair for a whole bunch of young people who may have had a better chance of winning the title themselves.

I'm not saying that Cheverus wouldn't have won the championships anyway.  The whole team was loaded with talent and the school has a history of winning that continues today.  That team was coached by one of, if not the, best Maine basketball coaches this state has ever had.  And the coach did report the possible problem.  Nevertheless, he was ordered by the judge to restore the boy to his pre-suspension activity.

However, that judge, as I said probably in good faith he was only being fair, has caused the team to vacate the championships.  It has caused team members of two other schools wondering, "What if ...?"  Many lives have been affected by that one "fairness" decision. 

As I said, there is nothing to show that the outcome of the season would have been different.  Considering just how good Cheverus was/is, probably nothing would have changed; but three teams, one negatively, have been cheated out of learning that the hard, honest play can lead to victory.

Like you, I know all the names of the involved in this story but I've chosen not to use them so that I don't treat them "unfairly."  I would also point out that many of the young men involved would disagree with my feelings here.  A complete story, including the names, appeared in the Wednesday Portland Press Herald.