Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Thursday AM Update:  As predicted, the snows arrived overnight.  We could end up with 10 to 16 inches before it ends this evening.  The first picture is a little out of focus as Gator Golden began moving and the snow was about 4 inches deep on the steps so I just came back in quickly.  I'll try to do better later today.

I was surprised yesterday with the announcement that Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (R) is calling it quits after a long, distinguished career in the United States Senate.  She says she will not run for re-election this year.  (Her complete statement is below.)

I haven't always agreed with her voting decisions and have said so here, but she has been a super person representing this state.  She has always kept the welfare of the Maine people at the top of her consideration, even though sometimes some of us  Republicans have disagreed with her choices.  I have heard what she has said about her decision and I'd like to remind the Senator, it's a whole lot easier to affect change from within than from without.

Sen. Snowe will be sorely missed.

Now the Republicans have a task of finding someone to run on the R ticket. No one immediately came to my mind unless, perhaps, Gov. LePage would decide to jump in. Bruce Poliquin might be another. Then there's Charlie Summers and Kevin Raye. Until a few days ago, there were two Tea Party Republicans planning to challenge Sen. Snowe in the primaries. One of them has dropped out of that race and said he'd run as an Independent. I find myself in a position of not supporting either of these two men.

The Democrats will have no problem finding a candidate and without even thinking about it, current District One Representative Chellie Pingree comes to mind as does her daughter Hannah, the former leader of the Dems in the Maine Senate.  The current Dem Maine Senate leader Cynthia Dill is another.  An outsider might even be Second District Representative Mike Michaud.  I'd be surprised if there weren't many others.  However, with her husband Sussman's money behind her, I'd probably put my betting money on Pingree at this early stage.  One thing is for sure; there's one  big party at the Democratic headquarters.

I don't support any of the Dem potentials, either, but at least they're viable like the three or four R's I mentioned.

In any event, the Maine U.S. Senate race has just come to the forefront in national politics.

Now we're bracing for a storm of a different kind.  I think this is the first time this winter that our area in Southern Maine could get a monster of a snow storm.  The forecast says the storm could slam into us tonight and continue all day tomorrow.  When it comes to an end Thursday, some forecasts last night said we could get from 6 to 12 inches.  We just might end up with more snow from this one storm than we've had in all other storms combined this winter.  Important to note, I live in the Greater Portland area and this is the area about which I pass the forecast along.

After a day of cleanup Friday, Saturday is forecast to have a heavy, blowing rain.  Yes.  Rain.  I think the correct term might be "wind-swept rain."


Here is Sen. Snowe's statement released in a Press Release by the Maine Republican Party Tuesday afternoon:

Statement of Senator Olympia J. Snowe

AUGUSTA, MAINE - Feb. 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C - Three-term Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) issued the following statement today with regard to her re-election campaign:

"After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate.

"After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in good health. We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election. It has been an indescribable honor and immeasurable privilege to serve the people of Maine, first in both houses of Maine's legislature and later in both houses of Congress. To this day, I remain deeply passionate about public service, and I cherish the opportunity I have been given for nearly four decades to help improve the lives of my fellow Mainers.

"As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives. I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.

"With my Spartan ancestry I am a fighter at heart; and I am well prepared for the electoral battle, so that is not the issue. However, what I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be. Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term. So at this stage of my tenure in public service, I have concluded that I am not prepared to commit myself to an additional six years in the Senate, which is what a fourth term would entail.

"As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America.

"In the meantime, as I complete my third term, I look forward to continuing to fight for the people of Maine and the future of our nation. And I will be forever and unyieldingly grateful for the trust that the people of Maine have placed in me, and for the phenomenal friendship and assistance I have received over the years from my colleagues, my supporters, and my staff, both in Maine and in Washington." Senator Snowe will be scheduling a news conference in Portland, Maine, in order to further discuss her decision when she returns to her home state on Friday. 

# # #

Snowe for Senate | P.O. Box 2012 | Portland, Maine 04104 | (207) 210-6777

Monday, February 27, 2012

Heading for March

The last week of February has arrived.  Actually, we're in the last three days.  That last day, Wednesday, could be interesting.  There's an old saying about March that's something like, "In like a lion . . . " or perhaps it's the "out" part that's most frequently used.  Nevertheless, depending on that ever present track of the storm, we could be getting some heavy weather Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning.  Tht could be interesting, I guess, but I always keep in mind the accuracy of the forecasting for our area this winter.  Could we be in two days of "Calm before the storm?"

Of course a little over half way into March comes Spring.  Gator Wife and I agree that considering the winter we've had, spring and summer could be a fascination in themselves.

Can you imagine the feeling that comes over a person when there's a loud "bang" or something similar that comes from your homestead?  GW and I heard such a sound Saturday.  The winds were howling so our first thought was a limb or tree had come down.  That was not the case.  As we looked inside the garage, we found a garage door spring lying on the floor and its wire wrapped tightly around the rail and railing on our steps out of the garage into the house.  Thankfully, we could not find any damage to the car that was parked right under it.

Getting that thing fixed is my priority for Monday.

Did you watch the Oscars Sunday night?  We didn't.  I don't think I've watched the Oscars being given out, or any other of the so-called awards shows for at least 25 years and probably a whole lot longer than that.  I think I look upon those awards' shows as I look at all-star sports games. 

I did hear some of the results this morning on the TV.  About all that showed me was how many movies I haven't seen recently and how many of the stars I haven't worshipped.  Perhaps one of the  best lines was a clip I heard by Billy Crystal.  "There's nothing giving more encouragement of a growing economy than watching millionaires giving millionaires a gold statue."

Another pair of those Republican primaries will be over by the time this blog is over Tuesday.  If you  think the hype for the Michigan primary, and to a lesser extent the one in Arizona, was bad, just wait until Wednesday when the buildup to "Super Tuesday" begins.  If one is to believe the news media that a Romney no-win in Michigan might begin a new call for new potential candidates, this buildup might be a little more interesting.

From what I've read over the weekend, that development just might make our governor happy as he doesn't seem enamored by either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum.  Of course that's from what I've read and only what the news media wants us to read is readily available.

And a final note from the news I heard this morning:  It's time to begin registering your kindergarteners to begin school next year.  Portland starts today.  All you have to have is a birth certificate, immunization papers, and proof of residency to enroll those four year olds.  Of course all you need to vote is to pick out a few places, walk in, and vote.  Check your city or town to see when K registration begins in your area.

That's about enough of not much for these two days.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

A now "gone" storm reminded us it is still February in Maine

I don't normally say "Hello" on a Saturday, but weekend plans are undergoing serious review during this final weekend on February.

I had mentioned yesterday that we might be in for a big storm, or might not.  Well, this storm, for a change, ended up almost exactly as the forecasters said it would.  We here along the coast got 99% rain while inland up to 10 inches of new snow fell.  Northern Maine received about 20 inches.

Where I live received almost all, if not all, rain.  And rain it did.  Along with some wind, the rain was driving against the house throughout Friday evening and into the night.  But it was rain.  It doesn't take long to shovel rain after such a storm.

The ski areas got a pretty good snowfall and that could add a few days to their season.  Far Northern Maine was still under s winter storm warning early today but the storm has now left the state. 

The people I've felt sorry for this winter are many in our area that depend on storms for a winter livelihood.  There simply hasn't been enough snow to plow.  It's also difficult for stores to sell winter equipment, both fun and work, when there's no snow on the ground.

Since Gator Wife is working on a revised schedule today and won't be home until the afternoon, I doubt we'll be getting any visitors (our daughter and her dog) this day.  I'm not sure about tomorrow, though.  We always look forward to having them come.

I frequently mention that I live on the coast which is a hard place for snow to fall.  I really don't live on the coast as I'm far enough inland not to be able to see the water, even on a clear, sunny day like today.  But I am on the coastal side of the Maine Turnpike which seems to be the dividing line between rain and snow in most storms.  It was again last night.

I listen to the local police on my police frequency receiver and while I was listening to the rain pound against my home last night, I heard our town's police responding to storm related traffic calls on the other side of the 'Pike in our town.

That's the way it is here as Saturday began this morning.  Sunday is forecast to be windy but with an abundance of sunshine.  So, once again, I hope you are enjoying and not facing too much to clean up this final weekend in February.  After all, as I said yesterday, it is still February.


Friday, February 24, 2012

It is, after all, still February!

What else would one expect for the last weekend of February other than some rather interesting inclement weather?  Of course, that ever present "track of the storm" will be a major factor.  Friday could start out with some snow within the next hour or two and it might accumulate one to two inches before it changes over to freezing rain and then later rain as the day progresses.  That's what's expected along coastal areas.  I live in a coastal area.  On the "other side of the 'Pike" it could be snow for much of the day.

The weather people tell us we could get a changeover, or would that be a change back?, to snow or snow showers Friday night and, perhaps, into Saturday morning. As I put this to print and considering just how accurate the weather forecasting has been this winter, I'm not sure where to go from here, especially for Sunday.  And, naturally since I've written this, the forecasters have had a change of heart.  It'll be sometime later Friday before the storm hits us.  Friday morning is just fine with the heavy precipitation expected this evening.  It'll probably change again before this day is over.

And change again it did.  The Friday noon forecast said that the storm has slowed down so much that it is now not expected until later tonight and then continue with flurries into Saturday morning.  I guess my questioning the accuracy of weather forecasting this winter was right on, at least so far (it's 12:15 PM, Friday).  In fact a quick glance out the window would strongly hint the sun is attempting to shine.

I guess we'll just invite you to enjoy your weekend no matter what it brings.  After all, it's the final weekend in February.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gas Prices

This is becoming a rugged winter.  No, it isn't any snow or ice or other type of lousy weather that's causing it;  it's the ever increasing price of gasoline and heating oil.  Sometimes it seems like it's more of an hourly rise rather than daily or weekly.  Yea, I know it's not as frequently as hourly, but there's been more than once that I've driven by a gas station near my home heading somewhere only to return an hour later to be greeted by a higher price.

We're told that the increases are due to many factors, not the least of which is unrest in the Middle East and Iran's shutting off England and France as their major supplier.  Others argue it's because of some technical problems here in the U.S.  Our good "friends" Saudi Arabia has slowed down its production of oil and caused the barrel price of crude to rise.

It's probably a combination of a these and other factors that is causing our rapid fall to the most expensive gasoline we've ever paid.  One of those factors, if one is to believe Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, is our own President.  In one of his campaign speeches recently, Gingrich pointed out that President Obama said a couple years ago that he would like our gas prices to be closer to five dollars a gallon like that of our European allies.

I'm not going to do the research I'd need to do to prove the candidate's accuracy, or lack of it, but I can point out that our last President opened up the nation's reserves to force prices down when they were on a similar meteoric ride a few years ago.  It worked.  I haven't heard any indications from our current President that he will release any reserves.  In fact, he has blocked our country from importing oil from Canada for refining.  Circumstancial proof?  Absolutely, but sometime circumstances can lead to real proof.

That five dollar/gallon price that our President allegedly covets has already been reached in California.  Can Maine be far behind?

One fact I honestly know concerns Gator Wife and me.  We have a vacation in Pennsylvania already planned and paid for this summer.  It is a trip we like to take each time a certain theater in Amish Country changes it offering.  We bought our tickets before Christmas so we could get the seats we wanted as the plays there are generallly sold out.  We also have our confirmed motel reservatons.  So we will be going.  Yes, we could cancel and get refunds, but we won't do that since the trip is the only one we have planned for this year.

But, had the gas prices been rising at the current rate, we may have given that trip second, third thoughts before we completed our plans.  We'll be going in GW's new car and based on her current gas mileage, we calculated an estimate of the cost of gas.  It is going to cost us about $150 for the round trip.  In previous years we've spent nearly a hundred dollars for the fuel.

(I can remember when I could drive around all evening for a quarter.)

Of course gas isn't the only thing with rising prices.  Concurrent with the rising gas price is the cost of food.  We'll probably spend more in restaurants than we have in the past.

Heading to my regular Tuesday visit at the senior fitness place, I was listening to a radio report that once again Americans will be faced with shorter or no vacations away from home.  That can't help our economy recover.  I recall a couple years ago when Gator Wife and I went to Branson, MO, for a vacation.  That was a spectacular place and I honestly would suggest to anyone that Branson should be on a vacation list.  But we were going through a similar economic downturn and people then were staying closer to home.  People in Branson were telling us that the number of visitors was well behind previous years, all due to the economy.

I suspect our vacation this year in Lancaster, PA, will see a similar downturn.  But we'll bite that proverbial bullet and go.

Meanwhile, I can only hope people convey the need to get our economy under control to our Congressional critters and summertime will bring some relief.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Memories of a Vacation Blizzard

This President's Week school vacation week is a huge contrast to one I remember 60 years ago.  This week's mid-week weather forecast caught my attention Sunday morning.  It said our area of Maine could hit 50 degrees Wednesday, but that number was reduced by a couiple of degrees by Monday morning.  That's what it said Sunday morning.  Even thinking about 50 degrees in February in Maine is sort of incomprehensible. 

February is considered by many as the year's snowiest month.  And with snow usually comes cold temperatures.  There are many indications this February won't quite live up to the month's reputation.  It seems a litle strange, though, that in February we in our part of the state have to be told that there is snow cover in the western Maine mountains and up north and ski areas are operating as usual this school holiday week.  I'm not a skier, but some I know tell me it is difficult to look outside around this part of the state and see relatively bare ground and hear of potential 50 degree weather to get excited about heading for the slopes.  So, the reminder, there is good skiing in Maine this school vacation week.  You just have to drive a bit to get to it.

That wasn't the case 60 years ago.  I was an high school student in 1952 and, like most students at the time and I understand today as well, I looked forward to those "no school storm days."  But that year, the snows blew in the weekend that started vacation week.  It snowed.  And snowed.  And snowed.  It resulted in Greater Portland's worst blizzard in my memory, and some say the worst ever.

Our family home was directly across the street from a field and the winds packed us in.  The snow was so deep we had to use the upstairs windows to get out and slide down that packed snow to the ground.  We finally were able to shovel a tunnel from the driveway into the back door.  It took "forever," but we eventually did get the driveway shoveled.  We didn't have a snow blower back then and so that storm resulted in one mighty "back breaking" chore. 

I'm not sure just why the driveway was so important to get cleared because there was no way to get a car out of it.  The street on which we lived was so deep in snow that the city's plows couldn't touch it.  They didn't even bother to try.  However, getting that driveway cleared of snow was the beginning of what has become an important part of every storm we've had since.  I still take great pride in getting my driveway free and clear following a snowstorm.

By mid week we ran out of heating oil.  My dad did have a guarantee delivery system, but no oil truck could make it down the street.  I pitied the poor delivery guy.  He had two five or ten (one memory that fails me) gallon containers which he lugged several times as he plodded to our house.  It must have been a miserable time going a block through waist or higher deep packed drifts, but he got enough oil into the tank to run the furnace for a few days.

My dad was a partner in a business and he had to go there during the week to check on it.  I went with him one time as we donned snow shoes and skis to make the long trek in the snow.  I wasn't used to using either so a trek that in the summer might take a half hour took us several hours in both directions.  To say I was "pooped" by the time we got home would be a big understatement.

By mid week, we heard a loud roar outside and looked to see a huge military machine plowing our street.  Even that powerful land mover was working with difficulty moving the now self-packed, wet snow.  But when it finished, we were free at last and able to once again to use our car for travel around the city.  Of course there were another few days of getting the plow banks cleared up and the porches cleared for safe use, but it had been a storm for the memory of a lifetime.

It began as February school vacation began.  By the time the vacation ended, it had been cleared so we teens did not get a single second of a "no school" storm day.  I remember, I think, of many of us in the high school corridors saying that it had been a real lousy timing for such a great storm.

It certainly doesn't appear that we're in any danger of repeating that blizzard this vacation week in Maine.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Another February weekend is here and it'll be an interesting one in the weather.  Although we'll have a little non-sunny stuff, the temperatures should be relatively nice in our part of the state.  There will be a little precipitation along the way, and possibly some accumulating to the north.

The weather will be better than the first part of the week when I wasn't motivated to do a lot here.  I'm not sure what it was, but some very less than pleasant thing developed in my stomach and caused some discomfort and, well, embarrassment.  But that's all behind me now.

The Gator bunch doesn't have any chores scheduled for this weekend, but we will be visited by our daughter and her dog, our dog's sister.  The dogs will have the chance to run and romp out in our large yard, but if it gets too wet, their activity will be restricted.

It's time for the Old Gator Dude to say "Goodbye" to my Fearless Friend.  Now this is far from a final parting; in fact, of course, we'll be able to maintain communication via email, etc.  At long last he and Mrs. FF are heading for their Florida retreat for a much shorter winter stay this year.  His trip was delayed for a month and a half due to a medical procedure he had at the beginning of the year.

At least he'll be there for his favorite part, at least I think it's his favorite part, of the trip:  Baseball's Spring Training.  One of the Major League teams trains right there in his Florida Home Town so the two of them frequently visit the ball park for games.

They leave Saturday but they will return this spring.  I'm not sure if he's told me they'll be there only until his normal annual return or he'll stay a little longer to make up for the delay in going.  I think he's told me, but I'll use the age excuse for not knowing.

In any event, he'll be spending this weekend traveling South with a stop to visit his sister and brother-in-law along the way.  We wish Mr. and Mrs. Fearless Friend a very pleasant and safe trip to their Florida home and are already looking forward to their return to Maine.

On the political front, I had mentioned a while back that I didn't understand why Maine' Republican Party scheduled it's caucuses over a several week period.  I didn't understand why, like most of the country, they weren't all held in one day.  Then to compound the confusion, the Party scheduled a straw vote for President right in the middle. 

The GOP is now paying for that scheduling decision as some caucus votes are not being included and result reporting confusion in others have caused  considerable controversy within the Party.  It's too bad those in control hadn't had the same lack of understanding I had.  The controversy, which should have been foreseen, could have been avoided.

And in anothe front, in a special election last Tuesday, a Democrat was elected to the Maine Senate in a normally Republican district.  I wonder if the voters there were giving the GOP a warning that unless those Republicans elected to get the state under control don't stop acting like Democrats and do the job they were elected to do, the voters will simply turn them out in November and return to what hasn't changed.

I hope you have a super weekend.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Still not motivated

The week continues and I'm still not motivated.  So rather than just babble along, I'll let it continue to rest.

Here's a closer look at yesterday's picture...the Golden is taking her cue from her 'dad.'


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Golden is bored!

Shucks!  I've got my toys.  Why won't someone pay just a little attention to me?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Saturday change for weekend

I wrote yesterday that there's a small chance this attempt to clear my head of stuff might not make it through the weekend..  And it didn't.  The "track" of the storm might pass too far out to sea to bring us any significant snow.  Or even just plain any snow.  The forecasters Saturday morning were holding on to some hope we might get a little, but probably not much more than a dusting in our area.  The weather radar this morning shows the storm passing about an eighth of an inch off shore.  Those forecasters do try to keep us interested with that "dusting" stuff.  It doesn't look like the plow guys in our area are going to make much money this weekend.

Here's another small added interruption:  Gator Golden just came back in after her morning check of her yard.  She wet.  I don't see anything so it must be raining no snowing here.

I do know one person who might be a little disappointed.  My Fearless Friend had a small medical procedure which put lots of restrictions on him for a month.  Among them, no snow handling.  Waiting for the restrictions to be lifted did cause him to postpone his annual trip to Florida this winter.  But now all those restrictions have been lifted and he will be heading south next weekend.  He told me in an email earlier that he was looking forward to working his snow machine just once before he heads out, but now it looks like it might not happen.  Of course if he neighborhood should get that two inches in the "trace to two inches" in the forecast, he just might get it out anyway.  And his neighborhood usually does get more than we do here at the coast.

By the way, do you know how much snow has fallen at the Jetport in Portland where one of the Weather Service snow depth stations is?  In the snowiest month of the year February this year, four tenths of snow fell last weekend, and that's it so far.

In any event, the weekend couild be cold.  "Cold" is one of those relative terms that really depends on a lot of factors for its meaning.  When I lived in Gainseville, Florida, for example, there were a couple of times when I was colder than I've ever been here in Maine.  The temperature was not what we'd call "freezing" here, although it did get into the low 30s if my memory doesn't fail me.  But blood thinned from the summer's heat and not exactly parka wearing apparel caused it to be very cold.

The weather we've had for the past several days could be called "cold," but, considering our clothing decisions, we'd be hard pressed to put temperatures in the 40s, some mid 40s or higher, into that cold definition.  Cold in Maine in February is in the 20s or lower, often much lower.  So that same track could keep it rather "cool" this weekend, below freezing Sunday with wind chills as high (or low, if you will) of fifteen below zero. 

It won't last, though.  We're told those temperatures could climb back into the 40s by next mid next week.

The Old Gator Congregation might get together this weekend.  "Depending on the track" could decide which day or both days or, the 'might' part, neither day.  Thankfully we have no events planned other than just being together.  The Congregation, of course, includes Gator Wife, Gator Daughter, Gator Golden, and Golden Sister. 

The Maine Republican caucuses come to an end Saturday.  They began last week. I think Maine had a disadvantage of getting presidential candidates to the state by spreading the caucus out over more than a week.  Until Friday, none came; but the surprise in the three states with either a primary or a caucus last Tuesday has brought two to Maine for the weekend.  Rick Santorun surprised just about everyone by winning those three states, but neither he nor Newt Gingrich are expected in Maine this weekend.  Paul had a visit here last month.

As a result, though, Mitt Romney will be in Portland Friday night for a town meeting.  I'm not sure if he's going to stick around for any of the Saturday caucuses.  Ron Paul is also planning a trip to the state to attend some caucuses in York County Saturday. 

Romney, of course, is hoping to sway enough voters his way.  Each of the caucuses, including already held like one I attended last Saturday, is conducting an unofficial straw vote for President.  We'll learn the outcome of that voting Saturday night.  The vote is non-ninding but candidates hope the outcome will help delegatges to the state convention commit to one of them.  For Romney, it may be too little too late to have jumped in at the last minute.  Although I didn't vote for him, I think the Paul campaign in Maine is so well organized Paul could very well be the straw vote winner.  I can't speak for all the previously held caucus, actually I can't speak for the Scarborough one which I attended either, but my observations were that the organized Paul people were there outnumbering the other campaigns, at least visibly. 

(Edited Sat Eve:  Romney won relative easily over Paul in the voting, 39% to 36%.  Santorum was third and Gingrich a long way back in fourth.  Also, for the record, I did misread my own  town's caucus.  In spite of Paul's organization there, Romney received 41 votes to Paul's 25.  Our vote was a week before Romney came to Maine.)

Personally, I had some great news Thursday.  I had my annual conversation with my personal physician, along with his annual touchy, feely, and listening.  Not a bad report for a three quarters century old gent who has had a heart attack, a burst aneurysm, a crushed hip, and wears an ICD (Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator), has a bunch of stents, and a whole lot more.  The report showed I'm still alive.

I hope the weather report ends up as good this weekend, but it's looking less and less promising, and that you have a great one.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Facebook, R's in the Legislature, Occupy

Everywhere I look I'm seeing the "Friend us on Facebook" message.  I read frequently the social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter I think, are affecting all of us.  I have a Facebook page. I've had it for a couple of years. I look at it occasionally, but there's nothing there to look at. 

I think I might like to try Facebook just to see what this social media stuff is all about.  There's only one little problem:  I have absolutely zero idea how to use it.  I see a place on my page called "Wall."  I gather that's where I'd post stuff.  Post what?  Who would ever see it?  There's another page for pictures.  Pictures of what?  Does it explain how to get pictures there?  I don't know.  And I have a "Friends" page.  I have no friends.

There's just so much about Facebook that I don't understand.  There's a good chance I never will.  But when I hear people talk about their communications through Facebook, I'd almost like to be able to join them.  Unfortunately, it looks like I'm destined to be in The Black Hole of Facebook.

Twitter is another story.  About the same time I got my Facebook page, I joined Twitter.  Just 30 minutes after opening the account, my email inbox filled up with about 50 or more junk emails.  I cancelled my Twitter account even though they admonished me that I'd probably never be allowed to join again.  No problem.  I've never tried.  And the junk email almost immediately returned to what I'd consider normal for me.  Unfortunately for the spammers, I have a program that does tell me that junk is on my server, but it doesn't allow it onto my computer.

I guess that's life.  I just have to accept that I'll probably never use social media.

Maine Republicans in the Maine Legislature are trying to live up to my expectations.  They are not doing a very good job, as I expected.  Now, in fairness, the whole Legislature hasn't yet discussed or worked on the DHHS shortfall problem and a budget plan isn't yet in place.  However, the Republicans on the appropriations committee working on Gov. LePage's plan to fix the crisis is doing just what Republicans in the Legislature have been doing for the past 40 years:  Giving in to the Democrats.  Like the whole Legislature, R's on the committee outnumber the D's, but that seems to be a well-kept secret.  Tuesday night, the committee did vote to cut some of the medicaid budget, but that now would go to the full legislature.  It was a copout vote.

For the first time in 30 to 40 years Republicans have a majority in both houses of the Legislature and in the governor's office.  It would seem they should have the ability to get spending under control in this state.  They don't.  As I have said, Maine Republicans have lost the ability to legislate.  I had said after the elections that gave them the control that I hoped they didn't lack the intestinal fortitude ... or if you prefer, the uniquely male appendages ... to fix problems.  My fears are coming true.

At least we have a governor who's willing to take on the challenge; it's too bad those other Republicans we elected aren't.  As I said, so far it's only a small R majority on the committee that is giving in to the past practices.  We haven't heard, however, any efforts by the rest of the body to put pressure on them leaving me with the impression the whole group's actions will be no different.

I surely do hope I'll have to eat some humble pie when this is over.  But the DHHS problem is just one facing this state and I'm not getting very pleasant vibrations that any of the others will have any different debate.  If you feel as I, I hope you'll contact your Legislators today and urge them to get this state's spending under control.  Tuesday night's effort doesn't do the trick.

And today's final topic, the City of Portland has given several extensions to the Occupy Maine group to stay in Lincoln Park in Portland.  After winning a court battle that allowed the city to force the group to vacate the park by last Monday, the city gave the group yet another extension to this Friday.  I'd bet that if my group of retirees decided to make camp in the park, we'd have been ousted before the first day had ended.  It'll be interesting to see Friday if the city is serious this time.


Monday, February 6, 2012

The calendar says it's February

To look outside or to travel outside would make one think that the 2012 calendar is confused.  It says this is February.  With the weather we're having, that is hard to accept.  And the weather is forecast to continue at least into next Saturday, and possibly beyond.  February???

This is the Republican caucus week in Maine.  Actually, it began last week and will continue into Saturday this week.  I'm sure the results so far are probably posted somewhere, but I haven't looked so can't say how the candidates are doing so far.  I'm not really sure it makes a difference.  Attendees at the caucuses, at least most of them, are being asked to participate in a straw poll, a non-binding presidential test.  I do know the Paul and Romney people know how our straw poll turned out.  They counted the ballots.

Maine's delegates to the national convention where the actual nominee will be chosen will be determined in May.  By then it will probably be moot as many states will have already chosen committed delegates.  They will have to vote according to their states' wishes and if any candidate has a sufficient number (1144 us the required number) of delegates, the convention becomes just one big party.  Of course not all states have to vote according to their primary or caucus outcome.  Some states, like Maine I think, have non-committed delegates so if the committed ones don't have quite enough, then the convention becomes very interesting.

I attended my town's caucus last Saturday.  I think it had a reasonable turnout, but it probably wasn't quite as good as the Town Committee would have liked.  I haven't talked to anyone about that so I'm just conjecturing.  Town Republicans who did not attend missed a very well organized and run caucus.  We were told it would run about two hours and it ended just before the two hour mark. 

Like, I believe, most all caucuses, we heard speakers extolling the virtues of some of the Presidential candidates, surrogates for Republican congressional candidates, and Republicans running for the state legislature from our districts. 

Only three of the four candidates for President were represented. 

It appeared to me, coincidentally sitting right in the middle of the Paul group, that possible most of the people there supported Ron Paul.  I had already chosen my seat and then a large group began sitting in the same section.  The gentleman who spoke for Mr. Paul did a pretty credible job representing the candidate's positions on various issues. 

A lady from New Hampshire was there to represent Mitt Romney and she was outstanding.  As you know, Romney isn't my first choice at this point in the process, but this speaker was excellent with a well-prepared presentation that had anticipated all the negative questions about Mr. Romney and answered them before they were asked.  Naturally she also had a litany of positives about him.  The thought that I'd vote for her entered my mind.  She was a very convincing speaker.  Probably the Paul people and other non-Romney supporters would take issue with that assessment.

As she began the round of presidential speeches, our moderator told us that only those two people had expressed a desire to speak on behalf of their candidates.  When they finished, the moderator explained that a Newt Gingrich state representative wanted to speak and she granted him that opportunity.

It was you know possibly the worst you know speech I’ve ever you know heard. I wanted you know to scream out at him you know that "If I you know knew, why in Hell you know were you trying to you know tell me?"  Actually, he didn’t tell me anything.  He did apologize to us saying that public speaking wasn't his forte.  But I will give him some credit; he did try.

Rick Santorum wasn't represented.

Sen. Olympia Snowe had a very good surrogate who was also a local House candidate herself.  She later did an outstanding job for herself.  Our other House candidate was also very good.  And Patrick Calder, a potential candidate for Congress, was also well represented.

I easily could have been elected to both our Town Republican Committee and to the delegation representing the town at the state convention.  Virtually everyone who wants to be on the Town Committee can serve and fewer than the alloted number of town delegates to the convention expressed a desire to run so all were elected. 

Our moderator was elected chair person of the delegation.  She was opposed by a Paul delegate but the delegates, the only ones eligible to vote, selected the moderator.  That sort of puts a big question mark into my statement that it appeared the Paul contingent had the most people there, doesn't it?

That's a rather ad-lib with no authority account of our caucus which began right on time, was interesting and informative, and ended on time.  I enjoyed being there.

Finally on another note:  What are the Boston Red Sox people thinking in not getting ink on a contract with David "Big Papi" Ortiz?  Considering the winter the new management team has had, I'm beginning to worry about the coming season.


Friday, February 3, 2012

"Sour" thoughts on the Super Bowl

The weekend has arrived.  It will end Sunday night and, thankfully, so will the Super Bowl.

I am already tired of the Super Bowl and rapidly beginning not to give a darn which team wins.  It might help that my team can't lose.  Nevertheless, no football game is worth all the energy the local stations put into the Super Bowl.  Gator Wife asked me if we could just turn the darn TV off until Monday.  Well, she may not have said, "darn."

I can remember a time when the local stations presented us with news.

Except for that which is force-fed me on the news shows, do you know how much of all the advanced stuff I'll be watching?  And that includes all the non-news shows on network television.  Yup, you guessed it.  Zero.  Absolutely Zero!  Sure, I'll turn the game on at kickoff time and watch it until I go to bed.  I'll bet I don't see the whole game.  And I love football.  The game, that is, not all the ridiculous pre-, post-, analysis, and on and on.

I saw another of those Super Bowl commercials.  It didn't entice me to buy a Chevy.  And that "Ferris Beuhler" one, isn't that a car commercial, too?  I've already forgotten which car.  Actually only two Super Bowl commercials from the recent past remain in my mind:  Betty White being tackled playing mud football and the Darth Vader one with the little kid and the car from last year.  I remember the scenes but have no idea what was being sold.  I doubt I'll even remember the product of the two I seen so far this year.  I've already forgotten one.

I'll be glad when this weekend is over.  The Super Bowl will be behind us.

Puxatawney Phil saw his shadow Thursday.  That means we'll have just (or another, depending on how you look at it) weeks of winter.  Considering how this winter has gone, that may not be a bad thing.

Just one other little thought:  Another sad thing about this weekend is the realization that the national Republican Party has committed suicide.

Oh.  I hope you have a super weekend.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And now it's February

That was a cute little storm we had Tuesday.  I think we got an inch or so more than anticipated, but about all that did was cause some rather slippery driving.  Listening to the police monitor was rather entertaining.  Wednesday morning we heard that we could get some more freezing rain or drizzle during the morning hours, then the sun could come out and begin the drying process.  No more storms appear to be in sight through the weekend.

Not much of a surprise out of Florida, was there?  Mitt Romney regained the momentum he had before South Carolina.  Is it over yet?  The Republican nomination for the Presidency, of course?  No, it isn't.  The actual nominating convention isn't until this summer, but Romney just got 50 votes.  Newt Gingrich says he's staying in the hunt all the way to that convention.  We'll see.

Here in Maine our caucuses are underway.  We have caucuses rather than elections.  The caucuses select folk to attend the convention and they they elect our electors.  My town, Scarborough, is having its caucus this coming Saturday.  I'm thinking of attending.  I'm not hoping for any offices, like being a delegate to the state Republican convention, but it is fun hearing the people talk about their favorite candidate.  I'm not sure about other caucuses in Maine, but ours will also select representatives to the county party and members of our town committee. 

Of course by the time our state convention is held, the whole selection could be rather moot.
I may stay away from JC Penney department store.  They have been running the most irritating commercial I've seen for years.  Even Gator Wife says she'll stay away.  After what seems like an eternity of screaming, "No!" the announcer says enough is enough.  I think they're trying to tell us the company will have no more sales events.  I wish that 'enough' was an admission that that commercial once was enough.  Actually, even one would have been too many.  In reality, it's an empty boycott threat.  I think you could count on one finger, perhaps fewer, the number of times we've been in a Penny in the last five years.

There's one good thing about this coming weekend.  All that Super Bowl hype, especially on Channel Six, will come to an end.  Well, almost.  I'd be very surprised if the station doesn't continue into next week, especially if the Patriots win.  I will watch at least most of the game, but I'll not see one minute of all the stuff that leads up to it.

Speaking of commercials, one of the Super Bowl ads has made the internet, thus the public airways.  I absolutely see nothing that puts the Ferris Bueller ad into category except mediocre.  In fact, as far as the so-called Super ads to be shown Sunday night, it might be among the poorest.  I think I saw a promotion for a presentation of the game ads to be broadcast Wednesday night.  I'll miss that.  I'm among people who have only seen a handful of any ads during a Super Bowl game that were really entertaining.  Oh, yes, they're not supposed to be entertaining, they're supposed to sell me something.

None have ever done that, either.

I know I'm negative on ads, but I remember when agencies had imaginative people designing them.  Perhaps I live in the past, but I have seen many funny, informative, or interesting ads that have led me to visit stores or buy products.  I may simply be too old to understand some of these modern ads, especially the ones when I turn to Gator Wife and ask, "What was that about?"  Sorry about my ads feeling, but that's the way it is.

Next up for us is a weekend.