Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Is there a secret there someplace?

Today's (Dec. 29th) storm is a confusing one to this simple writer.  I'm not sure it has been what it was forecast to be.  Yet, as I look out my window, I can see the snow continues and it's forecast to change to freezing rain early this evening.  But, the Accuweather weather map shows a lot of clear spots to our south where most of our weather comes from.  Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

My neighbor has continued to be a great one.  My very long driveway has been plowed.  I feel very badly for my wife, though.  She's due for a hip replacement in January so you know she's hurting.  Yet she'll head out to the two porches and clean the steps this afternoon.  She wants them sort of clean as my Home Care cardiac nurse will be here early tomorrow morning for her regular visit and blood draw.  Shortly after she leaves, my occupational therapist arrives to continue to find ways for me to exist with some ease.

I have a "second cousin" who is a year older than I.  She sure did hit "it" right on the button when she said to me one day, "This growing older business is sure not for sissies."  A lot of the business isn't any fun, either.  However, I'd have to say the alternative probably would be a whole lot worse, even though I'd probably not know it.

Wow!  That turned rather morbid all of a sudden.  Sorry.  Let's change topics.

I found a couple of items in the news to be fascinating.  I haven't read one of them in its entirety because it was in the Portland Press Herald and I stopped paying for it a long time ago.  I did see what I'm suspecting was a shorter version on WCSH6 Newscenter.  It was the story of a Scarborough police officer who actually returned a call to a scammer.  The account of that conversation was totally unexpected and fun to read.

It seems that a resident had filed a complaint about a phone call but had written down the caller's number as it appeared on the resident's caller I.D.  If I recall correctly, it wasn't a local number, but the policeman dialed it anyway.  Surprise!  Surprise.  It was answered.  The lady on the other end was, as I understood the recount, rather polite.  When told her call to the resident was a scam, she acknowledged knowing that.  "It's how I make a living," or words to that effect, she said.

Her call had told the resident that money was owed to Central Maine Power Co. and gave instructions on how to pay . . . in cash .  The policeman asked her to stop making the illegal calls, but he was told by her she didn't work for CMP and wasn't even in Maine. Apparently continuing being polite, she told the Officer it was a scam and she had a quota to fill.  From what I read, the conversation ended as it began, politely.

About all the policeman could say now was to issue a warning for Scarborough residents and others in Maine to ignore any such call as it is the now famous CMP scam.  But, anyone who gets that call should notify local and state authorities immediately.  CMP, the story made clear, has nothing to do with that tactic.

The other item is more recent and I heard (actually, read) about it here.  I think this well may be one of the few decisions made by our state government with which I disagree.  This one was by the Department of Transportation that has awarded a long term, multi-million dollar deal with a Florida company to maintain the Casco Bay Bridge that runs across Portland Harbor from Portland to South Portland. 

If this were going to save a pile of money, I might feel different about it.  But, as the article points out, it's going to save very little or nothing.  It appears that the State is eliminating good Maine jobs to good Maine people so that a Florida bridge management company can make a profit.  The cost of the contract is just about what the cost of the maintenance is anyway. 

MaineDOT says it will work with the employees losing their jobs find a new one and they can also apply for positions with the Florida company. 

The cost will be the same for the routine maintenance it now has and MaineDOT will still be responsible for heavy maintenance and improvements as it now is.  One MaineDOT spokesman said it will now have more resources available for other projects.


Considering the cost of the out of state contract will be the same as the cost now is, where are those "more resources" coming from?  Oh, said the spokesman, we can put those people to work elsewhere.  You know, the people we're going to help find new employment opportunities.

Why not simply leave them where they are now and hire the "more resources" from the great Maine labor force?  And how come this major decision apparently came with no advance notice or discussion outside MaineDOT?

Now I only can reach my conclusions, and, of course, I may have been wrong once or twice, from the news as our news media wants me to know.  But, boy! with what I do have before me I have to wonder if this is a classic left hand/right hand situation where one hand has no idea what the other is doing or saying.  Or, even more scary, what is the big secret still in the room?


Saturday, December 26, 2015

What's next for Governor vs. Legislature

Christmas has now come and gone.  I surely hope and pray that yours was an exceptional one.  Mine was.  I won't go into the wonderful gifts I received, but our little family gathering did just fine celebrating this year.  I mentioned the other day that all of us, including my wife and daughter and me as that "all", get just about whatever we need (more accurately, want) during the year.  It always leaves the Christmas giving somewhat bleak.  Nevertheless, I think this year turned out to be successful for all of us.

Because of the season and Holiday activity, I apologize for being a little late in commenting on last Tuesday's news concerning Maine's Governor.  In an interesting turn of events, the state's Attorney General announced she would not file a court complaint against Gov. Paul LePage for alleged involvement in the hiring and then almost immediate firing of House Speaker Mark Eves.  A news media link to this information can be found here, but there are many others, too.

AG Janet Mills, a very strong and high ranking Democrat, has said she will not prosecute the Governor on criminal charges which the democratic lead "bi-partisan" investigative panel said demonstrated the Governor exceeded his authority earlier this year by allegedly threatening to cut off funds to a charter school for hiring Eves to its staff.  Eves has been a major critic of the formation of charter schools in the Legislature.

A legislative committee then held something, which it called a hearing, to discuss the situation and developed a report calling for the criminal charges to send to the attorney general.  I didn't attend any of the sessions but from what I read in the news media, that well-controlled committee concluded that the governor had exceeded his authority.

It was that report that AG Mills rejected. 

 Some legislative Democrats want to attempt to impeach the Governor anyway using the same very questionable facts it says it found in its hearings.  There are other Democratic legislators along with most Republican ones that now say any impeachment attempt will probably not take effect.  The final determination won't be made until the next legislative session begins on Jan. 6th.

 Mills' action was probably one of the best Christmas presents Gov. LePage received.  The big question, however, is Have the Democrats caused the chasm between the Legislature and Governor to widen even more than it was? 

 That, of course, will have to wait a few weeks for an answer, but at least it appears some Democrats are trying to get the relationship back on a good track.  If they don't succeed, we'll be going through another spring/early summer of nothing but conflict coming out of Augusta.  Not many of us want that.

 Meanwhile, what the AG's ruling will do the court case Eve's has started to sue the governor.  That still needs a resolution and will continue to stand in the way of a good reconciliation in Augusta.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

We wish all our family and friends

Merry Christmas


And  Season’s Greetings

To all our non-Christmas friends


To all:  May 2016 bring you much Peace and Happiness


Dave and Sandra

(A Gator in Maine)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas nears!

2015 is drawing closer to ending and Christmas is creeping forward to be here this week.  But, it's hard to believe these two epic events are now right around that proverbial corner.  My goodness, have you followed the weather forecast for this week?  This could be cold/flu weather.  Next week, we're told, could see a change into a more traditional weather period for our area.  Officially, we're still not into the winter season, but we will be before this missive comes down.  Winter starts late Monday, just before midnight.

Edited Tuesday AM:  And now Winter is here so it has my permission to snow.  What's that?  We are going to get precipitation today?  Yea, but it isn't snow.  And on this Dec. 22nd, Happy Birthday, Big Brother, wherever you are.  He passed from Cancer more than 20 years ago and has done a good job looking after me ever since.

Probably the merchants are happy with the weather.  After all, the warmth,  will it really be close to 60 this week?, could draw shoppers out, even shoppers who have finished their shopping like me.  I can assure you, though, I won't be one of them.  My Christmas shopping is done, thanks to several respectable on-line venues.  My wife and daughter also tell me they're finished, too, but they faced the crowds.

There is, of course, one minor problem with on-line shopping.  Delivery.  Oh all my stuff, what little I've gotten this year, has been safely delivered at my house, but that's not the minor problem  Like me, my wife is also retired, although to get away from me she works part time in a local market, she is home more than away.  So whenever the white or brown truck comes down the driveway, she at the very least usually sees the store the package is from.  That causes very few, if any, surprises.

Although surprises no longer, she was surprised at a couple of presents she bought for me this year.  I may not have mentioned to her that I was sending for them.  It's all O.K., though, as at our positions in the life span, we really have no secrets from each other.  Days like Christmas do present some minor situations as we both get what we really want and/or need anytime during the year so our presents are mostly "fill-ins" just so we can continue to have a Christmas.

My biggest problems with Christmas is simple;
Mariah left us a year ago.

It just occurred to me, I had promised you some looks at our Christmas Village 2015 occasionally though this season.  I've neglected that, but here's one from our Department 56 Victorian Collection:
Our daughter designed this section.
With no snow on the horizon for this potentially warm weather week, it looks like we'll be having a "green" Christmas here in Southern Maine.  Nevertheless, we wish you a very merry one.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Drawing to a close, the year, that is...

My joint woes continue.  I simply do not like frontal weather systems.  Oh, well, as I said last time, this too will end.

Did you watch the NFL game on the NFL Network Thursday night?  The Tampa Bay and St. Louis uniforms may have been the ugliest I've ever seen.

It's kind of quiet during these seasonal weeks.  Maine Legislature committees and even some non-committee members are holding sessions in Augusta getting ready for the big opening in January.  The upcoming session should be rather boring with little being accomplished.

Why the little accomplishment? you ask.  Well, we have the same basic legislature we had this year and the same governor.  One leans Democratic while the other leans Republican.  To make matters even more difficult is that the Legislative leaders and the governor do not particularly like each other.  One side is trying to make Maine more socialistic while the other is trying to make government smaller and less costly by saving taxpayers money.

If the last session is any indication, there is little reason to think there'll be much compromise this time around, either.  Oh, yes, I probably should point out I know the upcoming session is just Part II of the last session so that, too, gives us little hope that much will be better in 2016.  One good thing we can say about it, though, is will by law be just a wee bit shorter than last year's.

The national scene in Washington isn't much better, if any better.  Both sides there are entering into compromise solutions neither side really want for just one reason:  The Winter Break is upon us and they're all only looking to get home for the Holidays.  In fact they may have already shut down by the time you read this.  One major goal is passing enough stuff so that both sides can make claims of compromise and avoid government shutdowns.  I can't help but wonder what would be bad about a shutdown.  It seems their only accomplishments are what the lobbyists, thus the main source of remuneration, wants and not necessarily what we people want.

2016, the last year of the President's term, could be interesting, I guess.  Some of the extremist attempts to bother us are, at the very least, interesting reading and thought-provoking.  I won't honor them, however, by repeating them here.

Finally, I'm not happy with the weather outlook the weather team I follow most is predicting.  If their forecasts hold, and they probably will, it'll be too warm this year for a White Christmas.  I'll miss that.  My idea of a perfect snow is the storm that puts a half inch to an inch of white on the ground late Christmas Eve (so Santa can have an easy trip) and gone by Dec. 26th.  My wanting snow for a full winter has long passed.  Of course, if you live in the northern part of our state, this paragraph is just a waste as it's mostly full of non-truths.

I'm finished, I hope you're well on your way to finishing your Christmas shopping, too.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Oh, Pity Me! (But you probably won't.)

Today's note is just a self-pitying one so you might just as well stop reading right here.

We had a pretty nice weekend in our neck of the woods.  The temperatures were well above normal for December days.  And at least on our plot of land, rain did not fall, at least during the daytime.  But that same weekend spoke of some rather serious weather approaching the northern part of our state and it included some three and four letters words.  Snow and Ice specifically.  Although we were told our area would get some rain Tuesday, at least Snow and Ice were not included and the temperatures were expected to be closer to normal but probably still slightly above average for the dates.

My problem is my shmucked up innards don't read or listen to weather forecasts.  Just about every joint in my body and a few other places, like my back, just scream at me whenever a frontal system comes within a couple of hundred miles of me.  Let me tell you, that mess way up north has, apparently, met the distance criteria.  Moving from one room to another just in my home has been an adventure, or several adventures, all Monday.  I suspect it's going to continue, perhaps even get worse over the next couple of days.

To make matters worse, my wife is scheduled for a hip replacement next month and that hip is responding to the weather at least almost as badly as my joints are responding.  You have no idea how much watching her move around adds to my woes.  She tries harder, though, to hide the discomfort than I.  Watching her, though, has proved to me that no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot fool anyone into thinking we don't hurt.

Seems to me I know a few other people who probably could nod their heads from their personal experiences these same thoughts.

This too will pass.


Friday, December 11, 2015


Another weekend is upon us, and, if Todd Gutner on WCSH6 has the forecast anywhere near right, it'll be a super weekend.  For you snow (ski) lovers, it might be a challenge and you'd probably disagree, but as I approach Old Age, it is welcome.

I've spent many a moment this week thinking of something to put here and several starts have ended with cancellations.  So here are just some random thoughts to wonder about.

A couple of mayoral elections in Maine have made me wonder if Maine voters are beginning to look more closely at the decisions being made by the very liberal side of the Democrat cause.  In Portland, I was pleased that Ethan Strimling was elected Mayor over the incumbent.  Both Strimling and the outgoing mayor are Democrats, but at least Strimling has shown a willingness to listen to both sides and work with both sides to accomplish goals.  I don't live in Portland so the election doesn't really affect me, except I'll miss his input in the super Voice of the Voter debates on Channel Six.  They haven't been the same since he left.  Nevertheless, good choice for Portland voters.

The other was in Lewiston where the Republican incumbent beat the Democrat challenger in a run-off election.  Lewiston, with a huge majority of Democrats, would have turned even further to a socialistic city if the Dem had won.  That could still happen, though, as the voters had elected four strong Dems to the Lewiston City Council during regular elections in November.  Those four openly announced support for the Dem candidate in the run-off and that may have awakened the voters.  "What have we done here?" they may have asked and returned the incumbent to the position.  His authority, however, is limited.

Some Democratic state legislators have continued their assault of Governor LePage.  First, they have successfully forced an public hearing at least on the Governor's attempt to protect, in his view, your tax money to go to a charter school, a school that hired the Maine House Speaker to run.  That assault accomplished, the Democrats have filed more requests for action against the Governor.  The Republicans, on the other hand, say all the governor was alleged to have done was hard-nosed politics.  When this is all over and once again a democrat is elected governor, I hope that party will remember about just "fun" getting even can be.  And if the Republicans want to get nasty during the upcoming hearings, the Dems could rue the day they started this kind of attack on the governor.
If you don't live in  Scarborough, The Police Department has taken on the challenge of heroin addiction head on and instead of just finding addicts and throwing them in jail, they are inviting addicts who really want help to come to the police station and simply ask for it.  No judgments of the users, the police officers simply begin a working process to find the addicts a place to get real help.  The program started just last October and has now helped at least 80 addicts find a place and helped fund, through community money support not tax dollars, the beds around Maine and the nation to give honest help to the addicts.  It seems the number seeking support grows by at least one daily.  So I offer my congratulations to the Scarborough Police Department for leading Maine into an honest way to help the addicts find a release from addiction.

My wife asked an interesting question concerning our "Right to know."  We both really believe in the right, but she was wondering out loud after watching the news, "Why do we consistently tell those attempting to infiltrate us just what we are doing so they can find alternatives?"  I didn't have an answer.  Being sort of a strong believer in the Constitution and a former journalist, among other things, I do believe in our so-called Right to Know, yet her question makes sense.  We announce our every move to combat ISIS and other problems.  You can bet there are many people reporting to groups our plans so the others' can be altered.  Interesting question.

Finally, did you hear on the news this morning that ObamaCare is now several million dollars in the hole?  And that's just in Maine alone.  It could mean some changes in the health care industry and probably will lead many of us to say, "So much for ObamaCare and affordable health care!"  Also, some insurance companies are already dropping out of offering ObamaCare which will lead to even more expense for people.  Is this an "I told you so" moment?


Monday, December 7, 2015

Have we been told the whole story?

Help me understand what's going on in Augusta.  Since I no longer subscribe to Maine newspapers because when I retired, we needed to cut down on expenses somewhere.  And since newspapers took a sharp turn to the left, they no longer met my needs, I gave them up.  My opinions here are only the result of what news I've been fed.

On that note, one of the fields of study I had at the University of  Florida was in journalism.  We were taught that a good news person told both sides of every story.  It was not our job to influence outcomes or decisions but rather to give our readers both sides of a story and let the readers draw their own conclusions. 

That was pretty much the standard throughout the industry although reporters did find subtle ways to get their side of a situation across through placement of the facts as each side knew those facts to be.  When I stopped reading the local daily newspaper, editorializing within stories had already become the norm.  And that continues today.  I think we can blame Richard Nixon for that.

Television reporting isn't much different.  There are still a few from the "old guard" still around, Don Carrigan and Pat Callaghan of WCSH come to mind, but they are growing fewer and fewer.  From watching, I'm not sure how many of the new, young reporters, I hesitate to call them journalists, would succeed in a college class held by the late H. G. Davis at Florida.  Do radio reporters even exist anymore or are they all just news readers?

As usual, I digress.  So what's happening in Augusta?  On one side, the Democrats are accusing Republican Governor Paul LePage of unfair, non-professional practices.  On the other side, the Republicans are calling the events just plain hard politics.

What's the event?  Well, it seems the House Speaker, a Democrat, was offered a full-time job at a Charter School in Maine.  Mark Eves has been a solid critic of charter schools since the idea first arrived in Augusta.  Among other reasons, he argued such schools would take too much money away from public schools.

On the other side, Gov. LePage has been a strong supporter of charter schools and even made public funds available during the last legislative session to enhance them.  He said he would consider withholding funds from his discretionary account this year if Eves were elected to lead the school.  Eves was elected and a week later, dismissed.  It cost the school about $30,000.

The Democrats cried, "Foul!"  The Republicans responded, "That's politics."

The Dems called for a bi-partisan panel to investigate the situation.  Of course, that bi-partisan panel had a majority of Democrats and a Democrat chairman.  But it was formed and held hearings a while back.  Reading about those hearings was interesting, once the reader could get passed the partisanship of the writers.

Here's the confusing part.  The panel has met a couple of times, but the chair denied many questions to be asked because, I suspect, they went against the Democrat agenda.  There was one very unusual bit of testimony that totally defies any semblance of believability.  One of the leaders of the school testified he had received a memo from Gov. LePage that clearly threatened to cut funding.  Of course, he could not produce the memo to back his case.  Did one really ever exist?  I know not, but the official then said he had committed it to memory just in case this question was ever asked.

He committed it to memory because it was such an important memo and said he was quoting it directly but didn't keep the paper on which it was written?  Sure!  I'll bet everyone believed that.  Well, the Dems on the panel did.  It sure did answer some questions I have; Just how dumb do those Dems think we are? 

I must say there were also some Repubs, at least one, who believed it, too.  But of course that came from an individual known to support the Dems much more than his own party, anyway, throughout Legislative sessions.

And I must also include the Gov's admission on the question when his representatives told the Panel that LePage would consider withholding his discretionary funds.  There is, of course, a subtle difference between the two statements.

So now the panel has sent a recommendation to the full Legislature to consider when it convenes. 

Now, I ask, why doesn't that panel also submit a report about one of it's members, Eves himself, who's isn't facing censorship.  After all, we also learned that one of his staff members is on the board running the school.  That staffer also apparently urged Speaker Eves to apply for the office, and then supported his selection.

Why is the governor facing censorship for doing his job challenging one of the most vocal members on the Legislature on an appointment to a school, a charter school he has opposed vigorously, with an assistant involved and the House Speaker not facing censorship for an egregious use of his position for personal gain? 

We should include a question about that school, too.  Why would it appoint a person to lead it who has fought against charter schools throughout the Legislature.  I wonder what his educational background is that would give him the credentials to do such a job.  Oh, yes.  He is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a body that provides some funding for schools.

 From all that I've learned about this, and it was from the dem-leaning news media, the apparent interest conflict is far more serious that the governor's protection of my tax money.

It should lead to a new law prohibiting elected officials from gain because of their positions.  But that couldn't pass the legislature.  It would ruin too many opportunities for politicians.


NOTE:  Edited to correct Eves' title.

Friday, December 4, 2015

And I'm an ...

See end for edit addition on 12/6. . .

Many years ago I learned one very important truism about life.  I honestly don't recall now, probably 60 or more years later, just what situation led me to that knowledge.  If I had to give it my best guess, though, I'd probably say through literature.  As a teenager, I was a prolific reader.

The lesson was simply before one can "fix" a problem, one must first admit the problem exists.  "Hello, my name is **pick one** and I'm an alcoholic."  That was my first introduction to the truism, but it wasn't my name in that "Pick one" place, which is why I suspect I learned this through reading.  Quite simply, before the person could escape his disease, he had to admit one existed.

Addiction to salt has been my nemesis.  For at least 15 years after my first heart attack, my cardiologist and vascularist (I don't think I've ever heard that term before so I may have just made it up) along with my PCP have been telling me cut down on my salt intake.  Actually they wanted me go from about 5000-6000 mg/day to under 2000.  My legs, ankles, and feet had doubled in size due to a fluid buildup resulting in all that salt.  The fluid ran out of space in my lower extremities and began to surround my heart.

My body gave me what was probably a final warning last October.when I landed back in the hospital with another heart problem.  My doctors concluded my heart was drowning.  Salt, they said.

Hello.  My name is David and I'm a saltaholic.

There!  I said it out loud.  I admitted it.  And now I'm well on my way to solving my problem  My swelling is down, my weight is way down, I'm much more active, and my salt intake averages between 800 and 1200 mgs per day.  It's a pain in the sit-down place to count the milligrams of salt every meal, but, believe me, it's been worth it in the first six weeks.

"Dave.  Do you really think anyone cares about your salt?" you probably are saying.  My answer is, No, not really.  But there is a point to this truism.

President Obama, his administration, and all of us have an extremely serious problem and we seem to be refusing to admit it.  It's called terrorism and it's permeating our lives.  Watching the events from San Bernardino, CA, the last few days has emphasized our refusal to admit the problem exists.  We heard one of the government spokesmen say on television, "We have no proof that the killing of 14 people and the wounding of at least 21 others by two heavily armed people wearing masks, body armor, and combat clothing and carrying assault weapons and pipe bombs into the building and shooting anyone in sight was terrorism."

Just like the other mass shootings around the United States over the last few months have been the result of family disputes, religious disputes, ideological disputes, and racial disputes, among many excuses, our government could not admit to terrorism.  Forget that terrorism around the world has increased 80 percent over the last couple of years and we have virtually done nothing about it.  We are still being told by our President and his minions that climate change is what's destroying this world as we know it.

There is no proof man has caused or is causing the warming of our planet.  That warmth, you probably have never heard from our history re-writing college professors, has beeen taking place since long before man, or beast for that matter, ever began roaming the planet.  I'd bet you probably don't know how much ice and snow our little spot, Maine, was covered with three million or so years ago.

But a very few people, including many politicians, are getting very, very rich by our paying for the development of alternate environment ideas.  We taxpayers are not only paying for the development for corporations' profits but also will be paying much higher prices for everything after the development is completed.  Wind mills come to mind.

Remember, right here in Maine we had the best, least expensive source of renewal energy already in use.  But the government made businesses and people take away the dams from our rivers and streams.

We have a problem all right.  And it's simply terrorism, not climate change.  And that problem will continue to grow and get worse until our leaders can admit it exists.  Our President wants a resolution of climate warming to be his legacy.  Unfortunately for him, his legacy just might be his failure to stop terrorism.

Go ahead, Mr. President.  Try it.

"Hello.  I'm the President of the United States.  And we have a problem."

Edited Sunday, 12/6, AM . . . President Obama did admit we have a terrorism problem yesterday and will speak to the Nation tonight on the issue.  However, Mr. President, we have already learned that talk doesn't mean much.  We'll see tonight the "what" of how this problem will be faced.  Hint...John Kerry isn't the answer.   Too bad there simply aren't any George Mitchells left in national government.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's getting nearer, that Presidential election

The seventh mass shooting in five months has shaken up both America and San Bernardino, California.  Something terrible is happening in America  and it is reminding of us of how some of the other countries in the world have been taken over.  I am collecting my thoughts in information and may have more to say about these events in the near future.

Meanwhile, here are some thoughts on other issues.

Golly  We're down to the last hurrah.  It's hard to believe the 2016 Presidential election is now less than one year away.  It sure does seem like the candidates have been at it for three years or more.  I know that's an exaggeration, but it surely seems like it. 

The really downside of all that campaigning isn't just the amount of it but rather that no one truly worthy of leading this great country has yet to come forward.  I was asked a few months back if I could vote for Donald Trump as he had been, and still is for that matter, leading all the polls for the Republican nomination.  I'm a Republican. 

Sure, I answered.  Well, now I'm not so sure.  He seems to agree with me on many issues I see in this country, but he also shows me he just might not be ready to lead the Free World.  Then there's Dr. Ben Carson.  He is quick, sometimes too quick, on his feet to answer questions.  And his answers also make some sense.  He just might be my flavor of the day, but I change my mind of favorite flavors often. 

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz haven't told me enough, yet, to gain my support.  I don't know what I'm really looking for at this point, but, even though I'm closer to being a conservative than not, I have to wonder if Cruz would be flexible enough, he is tea-partier, to be able really to help America.  And I've already told you here what I know about Rubio.

There are another four or five people seeking the Republican nomination.  None of them has gotten me to giving them serious thought .  Jeb Bush, for example, has...well, he has a family name.

Today...and I emphasize "today"...I would predict Rubio might be the winner of the Republican nomination; but I'll also predict I'll change my mind at least a dozen times before the primaries and the elections next year.

On the Democratic side, it's not such a crowded field.   It's easy to predict the nominee there.  Unfortunately, and I have admitted to being a Republican, I don't think Hillary Clinton is a believable woman.  I'm not sure she could lead a well-trained marching band in a straight line.  Wouldn't you just love to watch a debate between her and Putin of Russia?

As for Bernie Sanders, I don't think anyone in either party would lead us further into Socialism than he.  Actually, I hate to think about what America would look like if either he or Clinton were elected President.

So perhaps it's a "good thing" we still have 11 months to go.  Shucks.  Although it would have to happen like yesterday, maybe, just maybe, a real candidate will show his or her head before the Iowa caucuses.

Want to see another Village picture?
I'm prejudice about Golden Retrievers and miss mine enormously, even a year after her leaving us.  But now I look forward to the ads from that Toyota dealership in Rochester, NH, you know, the "No Bones about it" dealer, who is now featuring a new mascot Golden, perhaps a whole bunch of them.  I don't know what happened to that beautiful dog the dealer had, but now she's featuring the cutest pup and sometimes puppies. I'm no longer in the market for a car, but if I were, my first stop would be that dealership.
I'm kind of surprised that after, how long is it?  Three years now? Goodwill Industries is still trying to get rid of that little black dress.  Goodwill has some terrific stuff.  I know several folk who regularly buy clothes there and are extremely happy.  Apparently that little black dress isn't among the favorite ones.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Climate Change and government intervention

I hope you made it through "Cyber" weekend.  Yeah, I know, that "Cyber" always used to refer just to the so-named Black"Friday after Thanksgiving; but it now seems to begin at the first of November and continue well into December.  There was a report last week on the NBC Today Show...sorry, I don't have a link...that indicated that the best "deals" are not on that Friday.  That report said that actually you might even be spending more on some items.

I'm not a shopping expert so I can't really say what the truth is on this subject, but it does raise a question in my mind.  If all those items can get such advertised big breaks in prices and the day is billed as the day stores turn from red ink to black, why do we have to pay the large prices the rest of the year?  If profits are so good on Black Friday, and I'm all for profit making, during this "cyber" period, why wouldn't they be just as good the rest of the time? 

I do know I didn't get caught up in the shopping rush over the weekend; and, indeed, I did make a couple purchases "on line."  I was looking for a couple things I really needed and found at least one of them about $100 less than its normal advertised price.  That was a lot more than 50% off so I couldn't pass it up.  I was also able to upgrade one of my software packages for 40% savings. 

I'll be looking for more on-line stuff this year, probably beginning today.

It's not a happy day for us Patriots' fans.  At least Peyton Manning wasn't leading the Broncos.

It was also not a happy weekend for us Gator fans.  Florida, after a fantastic and totally unexpected comeback from four horrendous seasons to finally return to the top of the SEC with ten wins this year, lost to its arch-rival Florida State.  However, after watching the Gators, who won the SEC East Division, get mauled by the Seminoles after watching Alabama maul Auburn for the West Title, I'm predicting a devastating Gator loss this coming weekend for the SEC title.  Any chance for Florida to compete for a national title is gone.  Sugar Bowl, anyone??

Want a little break?  Here's a scene from our Village 2015 Christmas Display:

President Obama is in Paris for a couple of weeks of Climate Change talks.  More than 150 world leaders will attempt to find a solution to the global warming we're told is in effect in an attempt to save Earth as we know it.  After all, according to those experts, we humans are destroying the world.  Every time I read about this, I wonder who really benefits from "climate change."  Seems to me that whenever a solution is tried, the companies trying it gets its funding from you and me, the taxpayers, and company leaders just get richer with little or no investment of their own.  Also, prices go up.
Do we need change?  We probably need something, but let's first hear a real case for the need.
According to many reports lately, the "affordable health care" or "Obamacare" as we've come to call it, is running into the same monetary troubles it was supposed to have fixed.  Rising prices and the failure to enroll people at predicted numbers are making the "improvements" questionable.  There could be a new rush for health care reform affordability after next year's elections.
The problem is echoing the monetary problems of Social Security and Medicare.  The government created those solutions to help retires with dedicated funds paid by workers.  They were working until the government decided it could do better if it controlled the funds.  Now we're told they are going broke. 
So the government wants to accomplish the same goal with the "Affordable Health Act."  Has anything, absolutely anything, ever improved with government intervention?
See you next time,

Thursday, November 26, 2015

It was a great day!

Thanksgiving is now behind our family, and I suspect most of yours, too.  It was a wonderful day in our lives with family members getting together for a superior family feast.  I was pleased that the two cooks in our home were taking good care of the old man.  You see, I'm on a extremely low salt diet imposed by medical conditions and my doctors.  So, my wife and daughter found new ways to season our great meal and it ended up with no added salt in any dish.  Of course, there's no way to stop the salt that is already in foods.

Wednesday night, I had the chance to use the services of our local Rescue Unit once again.  I tripped in our home and went sprawling on the floor.  Since I couldn't get up, my wife called Rescue which came within ten minutes.  The two EMT's, one of which was a paramedic, got me off the floor and gave me a good checkup.  I did have a pretty good lump on the front of my head but we concluded I didn't have to take the ride to the hospital.  The lump is still there.

Now, Black Friday, the traditional day of massive Christmas shopping and the day merchants claim changes their intake from the red ink to the black, began the Christmas Season.  I did not venture out into the mobs fighting for some of those unbelievable bargains.  I think this is a year when I'll be doing a goodly portion of my shopping on line. 

I mentioned a little while ago that our family constructs a Department 56 Victorian Collection village as our seasonal decoration.  We begin on Veterans' Day each year, which is also our wedding anniversary (54th this year) and try to complete and light it on Thanksgiving.  We accomplished our goal this year.  That picture up top here is just a very small part of that display.  Here's another:
I'll have more from time to time.  The full Village is also on my personal web page.
Now it's time to begin thinking about the important items of the day and times and I will offer my thoughts on them in the days to come.

We wish you a


Most Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2015

Home Health Care

Maine Health, the parent of Maine Medical Center among other medical institutions and doctors, has a great program called Maine Health Home Health Care.  Along with its services, it keeps the patient honest in following the doctors’ directions.

I’m one of its current patients.

It’s my understanding that Home Health Care is designed to attempt to keep released hospital patients from returning to the hospital for more treatment of the original condition.  Hospitals, you know, get penalized if they release a patient too early.

I wear an ICD, an implanted combination pacemaker and defibrillator device to help my heart work.  If it starts ticking too fast, the pacemaker attempts to pace it back to normalcy.  I never know when the device is pacing.  If it doesn’t solve the problem, the defibrillator takes over and sends an electrical shock directly to the heart.  It’s like those paddles you see on medical shows on TV, except my paddles are now built in.  My device was implanted in 2009.

About a month ago, my ICD decided I needed a demonstration on how it works.  As I was getting dressed one morning, it sent a mule into my room and it kicked the devil out of me.  I was told to go immediately to the Emergency Room at the hospital if it ever went off so my wife called the super EMTs at the Scarborough Fire Department.

By the time they arrived in just a very few short minutes, I think I had totally recovered from the shock.  Sure, my chest hurt, but everything else seemed to be back to normal.  Nevertheless, I went to the hospital and was admitted.  Three days and nights of various tests and medicine tweaks confirmed my ICD had fired.

The hospital and my doctor there wanted me to have Home Health Care for a while.  A nurse first came to my home to interview me and take the preliminary vital signs, etc.  She gave me several options for help from a visiting nurse, physical therapist, home care person, dietician, etc.  She then told me about monitoring device now available.  Home Health calls that part of their services "TeleHealth."

I am now using one.  Using a tablet, but I don’t know which one as this is my first use of such a device, my weight, blood pressure, oxygen, and heart beats per minute are recorded on the tablet via blue tooth then transmitted to the Home Health office via telephone.  I think this tablet is using ATT.

The nurses in the monitoring room keep track of my ups and downs.  When they determine a problem might be developing, they call me.  For example, if my weight moves more than three pounds from the base weight established before I was discharged from the hospital.  Also my cardiologist gets a call.  My regular physician may also get one.  My doctors get a wee anxious over weight change.  Especially for big folk with heart disease.

The tablet also asks a few health questions and the answers I give could also get me a call to be sure I’m all right.

One thing, it keeps me honest.  I can’t even lie to myself without getting caught.  And so far, my weight hasn’t hit those three pounds in either direction. 

I have a nurse and a physical therapist stop by my house every week since I no longer drive and am mostly home bound.  The two professionals who visit me are just about the nicest and most professional I’ve ever worked with.  And a dietician who helped me decide on how to meet the diet restrictions my doctors placed on me was in the same category. She learned my likes and dislikes and then simply made suggestions on how I could meet the goals.  No lectures!

I’m not sure how much longer this will last, but until my Medicare allotment of time runs out, I have a whole wonderful team working to help me get to my next birthday.  I love it all.

I surely hope you never need the services of Home Health Care; but if circumstances change for you and the need arises, don’t hesitate one moment to ask for that help.  These great people simply care about you.





Friday, November 20, 2015

Think about donating to fight cancer

I sympathize greatly with folk who develop cancer.  I’m among the many who believe one good thing our government could do for a change is provide more funding cancer cure research.  We give as much as we can each year and with every check goes our wish that amount could be greater.
Unfortunately, not all of our, or your, contribution goes directly to research, including the pay checks for the good scientists who continue to work for a cure.  There are many people, like boards of directors, administrators, etc., who get way too much of a cut.  I don’t criticize anyone earning as much money as one can, but I do object greatly to my money, intended for research, going to the administrators. 

At one time I knew the ratio of persons with cancer to those who don’t have it, but that number escapes me right now.  My family has had its share.

Back in the nineties, my brother stopped by my house and asked me to come outside with him.  We stood by his car for a long time just remembering the good times.  He was only In his early sixties at the time.  After about a half hour, he leaned into me for a big hug.  That whisper that said, “Good bye, Dave.  I love you.” was the last thing he ever said to me.  A couple days later, his wife called to say he was gone.
He had been going for chemotherapy treatment for some time, but had decided enough was enough.  The doctor had told him the chemo could keep him going for another month or two, but stopping would take his life much sooner.  He made his choice.
Six years ago, my wife got the word that a lump In her breast was malignant.  She was one of the lucky ones and had discovered it early.  A mammogram confirmed what she suspected and a super doctor took her right away.  Surgery was almost immediately performed.  Fortunately for her, only the removal of the lump was necessary.  Chemo was not necessary but she did have some medication to take along with frequent doctor visits.  This past week was a milestone for her.  She finished the medication six months ago, and as of last week her mammograms and doctor visits became annual.  She has been told, however, that once cancer rears its ugly head, it can return.

And it was just about a year ago that cancer took our great Golden Retriever from us.

We give as much money as we can each year to help the fight.  What we give isn’t nearly enough, and that’s why I wish more of it went to the folks in the labs taking on the battle head on.
I would hope that in this time of the giving season, you can include something for cancer research in your list of gifts.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2015

First a little about me.  After all, that's what this is all about, isn't it?

I decided to give blogging another chance.  Since I shut down in 2014, there have been many times when I wished I still had a place to vent my opinions on various items.  I'm not foolish enough to believe anyone but me really gives a peanut about what I think, but I might feel better about those every day things that pop up in our lives.

For you who perhaps dropped by once in a while when I was active here, my pride and treasure, my Golden Retriever Mariah, has left us.  It was just about a year ago that she came to my wife and me and told us with her eyes and manner that she was ready and wanted to go to doggy heaven.
I'm sorry this is so small that you can't see her eyes very well, but if you look carefully you'll see just what she's saying to me.
We took Mariah to the local animal hospital and the doctor there wanted to do a complete exam and an ultrasound test to see what was going on.  I think I spotted the huge mass attached to her liver about the same time the doc did.  He said he could operate, but chances were not good that she'd recover.  With tears puddling on the floor, we made that ultimate decision.  I think it was the hardest one I've ever made, although it was also easy because it was the right one to make for her.
So I won't be showing you the adventures of that wonderful animal this time around.
This was another of our personal memorable weeks.  Those of you who were here before may remember our Christmas Village.  We begin our Christmas Season on Veterans' Day every year as we erect parts of the Department 56 Victorian and Charles Dickens collections throughout our living room.  We try to have it finished by Thanksgiving and turn on its lights either Thanksgiving night or, at the latest, that weekend.
We started on time and it's right on schedule. Like I've done every year, I'll post parts of the Village 2015 here and the complete Village 2015 will be available on my personal web site shortly after it's finished.
Also this week, my bride and I celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary.  I honestly don't know how she has put up with me all these 54 years.  I did see one of those "Forwards" that roam the Internet a few days ago.  An old man and his wife were being interviewed about their half century of marriage.  "Marriages don't often last that long.  What is your secret?" asked the reporter. I easily related to the answer.  "When we were married and things broke, we simply fixed them.  Today, fixing is only by replacement."  How true!
 I was on the losing side of a referendum question earlier this month.  I voted against the "welfare for politicians" question on the ballot which was supposed give Maine politics back to the people.  The measure called for the State to fund politicians' attempts to get elected to the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate.  Major problem with the plan, though, is how to pay for it.  The state legislature will either have to cut programs and people or raise more money.  States raise money through taxes which means you and I would have to pay more money for politicians we don't support.  And that, my friends, is very oversimplifying just one of the problems this new law has created.
We were told that passage would give us more control and take away much of the private funding, political action committees if you will, thus making the politicians more responsible to us, the people.  But then we look at who provided the funding to get the measure passed and guess what, almost all of it was from out of state PACs.  We didn't even have any control over this law.  I haven't read this one yet, but I have to wonder just what is in it that has the potential of screwing us royally.
Seems to me if we want to regain control of our state government, the way to do it is just the opposite. Let the politicians raise their money locally themselves.  If they can't do it, perhaps, just perhaps, that would mean they really don't have the support of the locals they want to represent.
Because of the PACs on the national level, how many Senators and Representative have been elected as just plain regular folk only to leave their offices as millionaires.  Seems to me I can think of a few right here in Maine.  Is this what we want for our state reps as well?  I don't think so.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hi, there.  I just thought I'd drop by my blog and say, 'Hello.'  It's been a while and I'm wondering if anyone still checks in here occasionally.  If so, I'd like to resume my strictly opinionated ideas on various things.  What do you think?  Just respond here and we'll see what, if anything, happens.

Gator in Maine  (Dave Jackson)
Hi, there.  I just thought I'd drop by my blog and say, 'Hello.'  It's been a while and I'm wondering if anyone still checks in here occasionally.  If so, I'd like to resume my strictly opinionated ideas on various things.  What do you think?  Just respond here and we'll see what, if anything, happens.

Gator in Maine  (Dave Jackson)