Archive for the ‘Ramblings to Myself’ Category


Harbor at Cape Porpoise, Maine














A small coastal village in the town of Kennebunkport, Maine, Cape Porpoise was named by explorer Captain John Smith in 1614 during his exploration of New England. Smith is most remembered for his role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and his brief association with the Virginia Indian girl Pocahontas.  Less well-known is that he is reputed to have defeated, killed and beheaded Turkish commanders in three duels, for which he was knighted by the Transylvanian Prince Sigismund Báthory and given a horse and coat of Arms showing three Turks’ heads. This however, and stories of Pocahontas saving his life, may be embellishments or downright lies, as Smith was considered a trouble maker and was believed to stretch the truth from time to time.

So we should remember that when our leaders lie, they’re just carrying on a long-standing tradition in this country.


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After taking a few pictures inside the terminal at Boston’s Logan International, I went outside to get a shot of the skyline. There, a state trooped in storm boots and Jodhpurs told me I wasn’t allowed to take pictures here since 9.11, and that was why he was there. I think he meant the rules were not posted but he was just being an asshole.


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The Nobel Peace Prize was recently and surprisingly awarded to Barack Obama. Everyone has their own opinion on this. Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, said it was “extremely well deserved.” I have a different opinion.

I think this year’s award is the Nobel Committee’s attempt to influence American policy on one or more issues, such as Afghanistan or the detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba. Obama is smart enough to know he has not done anything worthy of this (formerly) prestigious award. I just hope he’s smart enough not to succumb to Norwegian political bribery.

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The agriculture giant Monsanto is answering questions “about its marketing tactics in the biotech seed industry.” The Justice Department, along with Iowa and Texas, is investigating allegations Monsanto wants to control the industry, squeezing out smaller companies. DuPont (Remember “Better Living Through Chemistry“? It’s now “The miracles of science“) and Syngenta AG (“Bringing plant potential to life“) are Monsanto rivals and have been interviewed. Come on! DuPont surely understands business is war, and war is business. Justice can investigate all day Monsanto’s business practices, and may even find violations of law. This investigation is probably nothing more that a politically motivated attempt to shake a few more lobbying dollars out of a genetically modified tree. Then Congress can change the laws to make it right.

Any company is in business to make money. Altruism isn’t a corporate priority, only the appearance of doing good. All those smarmy adds about feeding the world only hide what should be obvious. As the world becomes dependent on a cheap, genetically modified food supply, that is all we’ll have. And when Monsanto is sitting on the only bag of seeds available, what will it cost?

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SoldiersHad my retirement party last Saturday, and everyone showed up. Jack, Jim, Ron, even the Captain was there. Later on, some of the locals brought out desserts including apple pie and something with peaches in it. I think that was what did me in, but who knows. I’m just glad that part is over with.

The weather was great, food was plentiful and everyone had a good time. I really didn’t want to do anything like this and would have preferred to just not show up for work after my last day. But retirement parties aren’t for the retirees, they are for those who aspire to be retired but haven’t yet reached that point where they realize they are about to join the ranks of the fixed income folks.  When that senior’s discount at MacDonald’s isn’t such a bad thing after all. And when someone asks what you do for a living, the conversation turns past tense. When the road ahead is shorter that the road behind.

So I went to my own retirement party to spend a moment as the center of attention, and for the swag, before heading down the road. I only have a few “work days ” left, and will do whatever I feel like doing. Even if it means working.


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ppmI spent my first summer away from home in 1964, earning $10 per week working at the Seabreeze, a motel my grandparents owned in Hampton Beach, NH. After work, I would sometimes hang out with one or both of the chambermaids who cleaned and made up the rooms. To me they were mature women, probably all of 16 or 17 years old. I wouldn’t be twelve until October. The Casino Ballroom was (and still is) a concert hall just across the street from the beach where we sometimes would lie on the sand and listen to whoever was playing the Ballroom. I remember one night lying on the warm sand and listening to Peter, Paul and Mary singing If I Had a Hammer. I’ve been a fan of PP&M, and warm summer nights on the beach, ever since.

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Final Day

Shoe-Sale-2Today is the third and final day of our “everything must go” yard sale. At least I hope it is. Every morning, I rush to get everything out and on the display tables we borrowed from friends for the sale. There isn’t much left today to put out today. For this I am grateful. It has been interesting to see what sells and what doesn’t sell. I’m not at all surprised red shoes with long, pointy toes aren’t a hot item.

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One of these days I am going to write something to go with the pictures I have been posting. Today just isn’t that day though. I mean, what can I write about this highly manipulated picture of an ordinary yellow flower? I titled this “Orange Blossom, Special.” Kind of a play on the title of a song written by Ervin T. Rouse and made famous by Johnny Cash, who sang the “fiddle player’s national anthem.” Before Cash sang “the Special” it was a standard piece for fiddle players. I guess it still is, but Cash mainstreamed it by singing and playing two harmonicas in accompaniment. One at a time, of course.

A fiddle is just about anything with strings and played with a bow.  What is the difference between a fiddle and a violin? When you are buying it, it’s a fiddle. When you are selling it, it’s a violin. A Cajun friend from my Army days called a guitar a “git-fiddle.” He also called a double-barrelled shotgun a “twice shootin’ carbine.” He memorized everyone’s social security numbers so he could fill out forms for us without bothering anyone for their number. This was before the days of identify theft.

So what does all that have to do with this picture?

Nothing at all . . .

Orange Blossom, Special

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We like going to Abingdon for several reasons. There begins (or ends, depending on your perspective) the Creeper Trail, a wonderful place to hike. There is “Kat Bird’s” where we get a decent coffee, après-hike. There are even a couple of stores Gerda likes to look (so far) at clothing a bit different than Walmart. There is a twice-a-week farmer’s market and a number of decent restaurants. Although we haven’t been there yet, the Barter Theater puts on productions of such hits as the Wizard of Oz and Showtime at First Baptist. The theater is across the street from the Martha Washington Inn. For some reason, I can’t help calling this the Martha Stewart Inn. All in all, I would describe Abingdon as charmingly country-pretentious.

There are definite downsides to Abingdon, though. Since it is the Washington County seat and there is a federal court in town, there are lots of lawyers around. Our congressman has an office in town. The golf course is surrounded by McMansions too close to the roar of I-81 truck traffic to be worth their price.

For those not familiar with the history of Abingdon, legend has it Daniel Boone was hunting in the area when he was beset upon by a pack of wolves headquartered in a lair near the present-day county courthouse. Since this was on the side of a hill, and being beset upon by a pack of wolves can be a memorable, if not traumatic event, Mr. Boone decided not to call this area Abingdon but instead referred to it as Wolf Hills. It was only later when the wolf problem was overcome by a Canis lupus eradication project did the good people change the name to Abingdon.

We recently were in Abingdon for a hike on the trail and the usual. I noticed a number of  plastic wolves up and down Main Street. They were painted in various schemes by local artists and chained to unmovable objects, I suppose to prevent removal by art collectors. I don’t know what the wolves of Daniel Boone’s day looked like, but they were probably a bit more menacing than these. I tried to make one of them look more vicious. I am not sure I succeeded. But in any event, the real present-day danger facing innocent people in Abingdon today are the wolves-in-lawyers-clothing. They hunt in and around the court house and gather after dark at The Tavern to howl at the moon.


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Do we look up at the sky, or does the sky look down at us?


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