Monday, July 29, 2013

INSOMNIA



Not exactly a Weiner shot
When I was a principal in the Alaska bush I use to wake up at four-thirty in the morning with concerns about individual students, or problem parents, or the school board or politics at the district office, or staff concerns.   I would lay there until five-thirty and finally get up exhausted and tense.

This morning I woke up at four-thirty – I couldn't sleep – and my mind kept dealing with thoughts like: why would anyone want to be a proctologist; or, how many uses could I find for bacon; and what’s the name of the song that says - You don’t tug on superman’s cape, you don’t piss in the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the loan Ranger and you never, ever moon a werewolf.   Shit: off track again…

About five-thirty I finally gave up, fed the cat and read for a couple of hours with tea and toast.  About seven, I went back to bed and crashed until nine; then got up and wrote a blog post.   

A much improved lifestyle.  
I can’t complain.

the Ol’Buzzard



A BUZZARD EGG OMELET #22







Did you ever wonder why anyone would ever become a proctologist?    Why would anyone ever want to spend four years as an undergraduate and six years in medical school to become an asshole doctor?

‘Little Jimmy, what do you want to be when you grow up?’  

‘I either want to drive a kakka-pumper truck and pump out septic tanks or be a proctologist.’ 

‘Little Jimmy, why would you want to do that?’

‘Because I like playing in other people’s shit and smelling farts.’ 

Seriously, do you plan for that career field or end up in that field?     When you are almost finished with med school do they tell you “you are not smart enough to be a brain surgeon or dexterous enough to be a heart sergeant but you could qualify for proctology”.  

And what’s below proctology?

‘Your grades are really bad and our motto is Do No Harm.   We can’t trust you with a scalpel, but you will probably be all right with toe nail clippers; so we will graduate you as a podiatrist.

I may be way off base on this, and probably am.   And of all people: after having re-enlisting in the military for twenty-two years, where I was paid $65.00 extra per month for combat pay while in Vietnam, I shouldn’t discredit anyone’s choice of career.   Obviously proctologist and podiatrist were smarter than I was when choosing a career.  

Therefore, I hereby offer my apology to all proctologist and podiatrist.  

But, I’m just asking?

Who the hell would want to grow up to be an undertaker?

Of course, they all drive Lexus. 


the Ol’Buzzard    

Sunday, July 28, 2013

AN ENERGY UTOPIA



President Obama recently spoke about weaning the country off of fossil fuel dependency from foreign countries.   Liberals, me included, seem to get all misty eyed when we talk about electrical power from wind mills, tide and solar.  

There is a basic flaw in my character, however, that always has to take things one step further – beyond the ideal – and look at the practical. 

My first thought was that for the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (one trillion when you add in all the peripheral spending) the government could have outfitted every home in America with wind and solar power.



 Using numbers from Understanding the Market web site, there are 316,000,000 (three hundred and sixteen million) people in the United States and approximately 125,000,000 (one hundred twenty five million) private homes.   This works out to about $8,000 per private home that could have been applied to home energy production.  

Outfitting every home with solar and wind power would cut the national electrical consumption at least by one third.   This means that the country would have to produce and supply less power, consequently using less fossil fuel. 



Aah, there is the rub.

If we drastically cut our electrical consumption, thus our fossil fuel consumption, massive layoffs would occur.   Companies that produce, transfer and refine the oil products would experience layoffs; likewise companies that manufacture and support the fossil fuel companies would slow down; there would be less need for tanker truck and fuel transporting trains; power companies would have to downsize and power grids would shrink.  Many sectors of our economy would experience lay offs and down sizing. The unemployment would skyrocket and the economy crash. 

There might possibly be a temporary construction boom in the production and installation of alternative energy equipment, but once it was on line that sector would decline.  

Another scenario: instead of channeling the money to individual homes the government could have channeled the money to power and energy companies to produce more alternative energy for the grid…what could possibly go wrong there?


But this is all conjecture – what if…  The reality is that when given the choice of prosperity for the people or war: the government politicians will choose war every time.  



Government likes the status quo.    It works for the rich - and what's good for Colonel Bullmoose is good for the USA.


the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A NICE COOL MAINE SUMMER



After two weeks of ninety degree weather with evening thunderstorms we have moved back to moderate temperatures.  Day temperatures are in the lower seventies and nights are dropping into the lower fifties.   Of course we still have rain today: but I love that sound on our metal roof.  


I love Maine
the Ol'Buzzard

MY ONLY POST ON THE TRAYVON MARTIN TRIAL






The miscarriage of justice in the Trayvon Martin trial resulted from two causalities.

First the prosecuting council was totally inept.     Using Florida’s laws the attorneys should have focused on Martin’s right to stand his ground when being stalked, confronted, and threatened with deadly force by George Zimmerman.     

The prosecuting attorneys seemed to have no real understanding of establishing legal precedence, but instead floundered around in a morass of racism accusations, character assassinations, who was on top, and who was speaking during cell phone conversations.  For most of the trial it seemed the prosecutors were substantiating the claims of the defendant. 

Not even a great lawyer, but just a competent lawyer should have been able to bring in a verdict against Zimmerman.    

The verdict outcome totally rest on the incompetence of the prosecution. 

Secondly, I have served on a jury and can testify how reckless it is to leave life and death decisions to people picked at random from the general public and agreed upon by two attorneys with varying degrees of competence.   Perhaps in theory ‘a jury of your peers’ sounds reasonable.   But you should remember that half of the general public fall on the back side of the intelligence bell curve.  At least half of the jury members are ill-informed; have no legal background; and are pissed off they are missing their reality shows.   Most juries can be swayed and persuaded by who ever is the best courtroom evangelist. 

If ever in the unfortunate situation of appearing in court and expecting justice to be served – especially if you are expecting a legally based decision – it would be advisable to avoid a jury trial and appear before a judge: and even that could be crap shoot.  


the Ol’Buzzard

THE WAIT IS OVER FOR JOHN OLIVER




Saturday, July 20, 2013

HOTTER THAN HELL IN MAINE


The heat in main
Is followed by the rain
And I'm using it as an excuse
Not to do any work.
The Ol'Buzzard declares it a cat day.

O'B

I AM NOT A QUIXOTIC PERSON




I don’t live in the past. 

 

It has been said that when you die your life flashes in front of your face; and if that is true my death will be delayed, for my movie will have to be a double feature or perhaps a triplet.

I would not choose to relive most of my life as it existed, and I spend very little of my time dwelling on my past.    I have had adventures aplenty; but like the sound of one hand clapping, they amount to nothing – a memory – a flash – an electric discharge in an old computer. 

I do not keep in touch with family – by choice.   I have known and worked with many people, but my one true friend died some thirty years ago.  My existence is my wife and our life together – perhaps the only thing in my past I would not change.    

I spent 22 years in the military: a lot of that time in special units.   I feel a comradeship with military vets, but you will not find me in the VFW or AMVETS crying in my beer about imagined heroism.   The men I served with were good people – they were used and abused by the politics of government and many were maimed or died for nothing.  

That is why it felt strange to run across two pictures on an internet search yesterday.




Early in my Navy career I was in an anti-submarine patrol squadron.  I was a combat air crewman and radio operator aboard a P-3 Neptune bomber.  

The pictures are of LK-4: LK being the tail insignia for the Squadron VP-26, and the number four was our crew:  We were CAC-4 (Combat Air Crew - 4)   




In the mid 1960’s the crew concept changed and people were loosely assigned to air crews.   You would come into Operations one hour before your flight and get briefed.   You would be assigned an aircraft for that mission.   You would preflight and fly your mission and then return to Operations for debriefing, dropping off a list of maintenance problems that occurred on the flight at the Maintenance Department desk.  Then you would hang up your flight gear and go home.   As a result you would have a very impersonal relationship with crew and aircraft.  



This in not the way it worked in the early 1960’s when I was a crew member of CAC-4.    There were eight men on our crew: three officers and five enlisted.   We not only flew together, we worked together, lived together,  and partied together.   The aircraft – LK4 – was given to us: it was our bird.   No one else flew it – no one else touched it.  We did all our own maintenance: if there was an engine to change our five enlisted would be on the platform turning wrenches.   Electronics, electrical, hydraulic, weapons loading…we did it as a crew.  We knew every inch of that aircraft.  We were proud of its readiness and our record.  We would fly our missions, return, clean the aircraft and debrief. We would note our discrepancies on the maintenance board, and the next morning we would be back on our bird repairing and cleaning – gassing and oiling.  

We flew anti-submarine patrols and surface ship identification out of Maine, Cuba, Porto Rico, Florida, Sicily, Spain, Greece, Libya - we were arrested in Turkey.   We sometimes put down on third world islands with short airstrips.   Often on a layover we prepared our own food and slept on the floor or on the wings of our aircraft.  

The pictures of this aircraft – LK-4 – were our aircraft - my aircraft, and the crew on board was my crew.  I was probably a 22 year old third class petty officer operating radio behind the wing spar (it was a solid wing that went all the way through the aircraft) when this picture was taken.

I have not thought of this crew in years.  I have no idea how many are still alive.   But, we were a true band of brothers.


The Ol’Buzzard  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

THIS IS WHO WE ARE - AND WE SUCK.

You have got to take a look at this from
The Brain Police

the Ol'Buzzard

BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON. BACON. BACON



BACON, BACON: HOW DO I LOVE THEE.  LET ME COUNT THE WAYS.

1.    Served with eggs and grits
2.    On top of buttered toast
3.    With pancakes and jam
4.    Add to flavor beans
5.    Use the grease when frying
6.    Grease sopped up with toast
7.    Sprinkled on your salad
8.    Eat instead of salad
9.    Good for fishing bait (also attracts log head turtles and alligators)
10.                       Used for baiting bear
11.                       An aphrodisiac for men
12.                       Add to any sandwich
13.                       White bread mayonnaise and bacon
14.                       Crumbled on baked fish
15.                       The base of good corn chowder
16.                       Eaten before sex
17.                       Eaten after sex
18.                       Bacon grease and sex (use your imagination)
19.                       Hell, I have just made a transition from one favorite food to the next: I don’t think I can continue.

Here is a recipe from a nineteen century cook book for corn chowder.  I have cooked this on the back of a woodstove and it is delicious.

Recipe from the Farmers Cottage at the Norland's Living History museum in Livermore, Maine


·       One large onion diced
·       Six thick pieces of bacon cubed (slab bacon)
·       2 cups of diced potatoes
·       1 tsp of salt (I omitted the salt.)
·       Two cups of fresh corn
·       Two cups of boiling water
·       Two cups of milk
·       Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon and sauté the onions until done.   Add water and potatoes and salt

When potatoes are tender add corn and milk.   Bring just to a scalding point – do not boil

Serve hot with corn bread.

YUM YUM!

OLD TIME SOUTHERN CORNBREAD

Here is my recipe for southern cornbread.  In the deep south in the 40’s and 50’s most people didn’t add sugar to their cornbread.  

2 cups of yellow cornmeal
2 cup of white flower
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
¼ cup of lard
2 eggs
2 cups of milk

Combine milk, eggs and lard.  Stir in other ingredients - mixing only until moist. Bake in a large greased pan at 400 degrees until brown – about thirty minutes.  Slather with real butter and eat hot. 

the Ol’Buzzard







Sunday, July 14, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

IN DEFENSE OF WALMART*






Walmart is like cell phones: a visit to Walmart is distasteful but a fact of modern life.   People complain about the low salaries and the way Walmart treats their workers; but people know the salary scale when they apply for the job – and most people initially are happy to get it.    Walmart, like McDonald's, offers jobs to unskilled workers – workers who are not qualified for any other jobs.   If you have salable skills, you are not looking for a career at Walmart.  Instead of blaming Walmart for their salary scale, how about blame the Senate and Congress for failing to pass a livable minimum wage law.  

A man that lives near me works at Walmart.   He is over fifty and for years worked as a manual laborer for a construction company in the summer and drew unemployment during the winter.    He lost his eye and injured his back working construction doing shovel and grunt work.  He now works at Walmart and his major complaint seems to be that they don’t lay him off during the winter so he can draw unemployment. 

The reality is that most Walmart workers would be unemployed in our small community if we didn't have a Walmart. 

People are gullible and willing to believe things without weighing the factors, and people like to complain.   We complain about the weather, our spouses, our children, our neighbors – the list is unending – just check out my blog: probably ninety percent of my post (as are yours) are complaints.   And we like to complain about Walmart.

My wife and I shop at Walmart.   We probably save about fifty dollars a month by shopping there; and, on a fixed income fifty dollars, to us, is a lot of money.  We don’t buy everything at Walmart, but we regularly buy can goods, cleaning products, appliances, beer, liquor and paper products.   There was an old general store in Maine that posted the sign: If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.   And that pretty much defines Walmart.  From car products to electronics – from bird feeders to candles – you have pretty much one stop shopping. 

We complain that Walmart carries Chinese junk – but get real – many of the products in your life were made in China.  If your phone and computer were not made in china, their components were.  Inside the labels of clothing from L.L. Beans and the sports gear at Cabela's you will find the label made in China.  Many of your cars parts were milled in Chinese factories. 

We have a Walmart and we still have a vibrant little town.  Some of the mom and pop stores closed, and that seems a shame; but mom and pop stores, like dial telephones, are a relic of the past.   No one complained when our little movie house closed and a multiplex opened – like accepting cell phones – we move on.

You get the best prices and the greatest selection at Walmart – and if they don’t have it you probably don’t need it.


the Ol’Buzzard    

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A LAMENT TO CELL PHONES





According to the Divine Comedy (The Inferno) the eighth circle of hell is full of lawyers.   But, in keeping up with the new technology I feel that at least the fifth circle of hell should have a place for the people who can’t unplug from their cell phones. 



Back in December we finally traded in our old truck for a new fuel efficient car.  The payments stroke us but it needed doing so that my wife will have dependable transportation when I am gone - and this is the last one.   Then two months ago some woman ran into the back of our new car while I was stopped at a stop light.   She was in her late forties and texting to her daughter.  

I am super conscious now of people riding around with a cell phone held up to their ear.   If you drive around your town and watch, at least twenty-percent of the people are talking on cell phones while they are driving in traffic.  If you go into the grocery store, or walk around Wal*Mart you will see people on their cell phones.   Kids walking down the street are talking on their cell phones.   

Phones ring and people talk on their cells at restaurants.   Recently, at a local restaurant six middle aged people at the same table were laughing because they were texting each other, while from a nearby booth we had to listen to a woman talking to friend on her cell. 

 Yesterday my wife and I went to a playhouse.  Before the play started the MC asked everyone to turn off their cell phones - but an hour into the play we had to listen to some elderly woman’s favorite tune digitally explode on her cell phone.   I won’t even mention the school age kids that seem to have a cell phone implanted onto the side of their head. 



What the fuck is this that we cant unplug from our telephones for a couple of hours to sit in a play or a movie or a restaurant.

In the fifth circle of hell I would have cell phones implanted on both ears of the abusers; and every three minutes, twenty-four hours a day, the phone would ring playing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkuries, followed by a recording warning you that your credit card might be overdrawn. 



the Ol’Buzzard hates cell phones.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

IT IS BUG SEASON HERE IN MAINE





I have lived in the south and I have lived in the Arctic, but there is no place I have found that can compare to bug season in rural Maine.  

Let me qualify: in the towns and cities where lawns are kept mowed the bugs are a nuisance and a distraction, but in the bush – the rural woods and lakes and streams - bug season in Maine is a condition that sends large men, covered in repellent, running for the safety of their tents or vehicles.

Bugs come in cycles here in Maine: there are deer flies, black flies, horse flies, midges, mosquitoes and no-seeums.   The flies bite and sting and buzz around your head and are a pain in the ass; the mosquitoes rise up from the swampy and shady areas and leave bites that itch for the better part of a day; the midges are small gnats that swarm around you head, get into your ears, nose and mouth and leave whelps the size of your thumb nail; but, by far the worst bite comes from the no-seeum. 

I looked up no-seeum on the internet and found that every site I checked confused no-seeums with midges.   The only conclusion is that all the experts that posted on no-seeums have never lived in rural Maine, and don’t know what they are talking about. 

No-seeums are flying venomous creatures that are so small they can enter through a window screen.   Most of the times you can’t see them: thus the name of no-seeums.   But if the light is right they will look like a small bit of floating cigarette ash.   You mainly know about them once you have been bitten.  They can leave a burning, itching, inflamed knot about the size of a bisected golf ball that will remain a torment for a couple of days.  

I swear that if no-seeums were the size of black flies there would be no human life in northern Maine.

Here in northern Maine we have four seasons: snow season, mud season, bug season and fall.  If you intend to hike or camp in northern rural Maine I would suggest you choose fall.

the Ol’Buzzard




Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LET'S EVERYONE HANG A PICTURE OF AN OIL DISASTER ON OUR WALLS



now to  post.

The oil companies must be gleeful the San Francisco plane crash took the spotlight off the oil spill on the border of Maine and Quebec.




Early Saturday morning a train pulling 73 oil tanker cars derailed and exploded in the small community of Lac Megantic, Quebec. The explosions and fire caused by the derailment destroyed most of the downtown. In the community of 6000 - 2000 people had to be evacuated. There were approximately 30 downtown buildings incinerated and the death count is now five with around forty people still missing. Fire departments in Canada and from Maine, including trucks from our community, responded to the emergency. The oil has entered both the lake and the local river, but at this time the oil clean-up is a low priority.



The oil was drilled in North Dakota and on its way to New Brunswick via Maine. There is a proposal now in the process for an oil pipeline to run from North Dakota, across eastern Canada, through Maine to the terminal in New Brunswick.



This is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations: the oil will be pumped and will be transported to the refineries as long as there is a demand and there is profit to be made. If the oil pipeline is defeated, the oil will be transported by train, tanker trucks, barges and oil tankers.

Monday, July 1, 2013

RAIN IN MAINE AND RACOONS




We have had over a week of continual rain here in western Maine. Perhaps I should contemplate building an ark. But then, I don’t have the longevity of Noah. According to the Bible Noah lived to an age of nine-hundred and fifty years – he didn’t start building the ark until he was six hundred years old and it took him one hundred and twenty years. Even disregarding collecting two animals of every species in the world including insects; this is a story that would be too weird for the Brothers Grimm.





I marvel how gullible people can become when it comes to religions: Jesus walking on water – the bread and fishes, and Mohammed flying to Jerusalem on the back of a horse.


Yesterday I discovered the monster that has been steeling my bird feeders. Three feeders in the past two weeks have disappeared. Yesterday the last feeder was missing from a tree behind the house, but due to the heavy rains we have been experiencing the culprit left a visible trail to follow through the alders and ferns. About twenty-five yards into the rough I found the discarded feeder and the trail continued on deeper into the brush. The ground was too wet to distinguish tracks, but I eliminated bear because even in the mush a bear would have left a heavy tread.



I have a feeder mounted in a chimney block that is too heave to move; so last evening I loaded it up with sun flower seeds. Being in my seventh decade I get up through the night about every three hours to pee and last night I made it a point to switch on the spotlights mounted on the back of the house. Sure enough a big raccoon was sitting on the feeder trying to get the top off.



I could - I am quite capable - but I don’t kill animals any more. Steeling food is the nature of a raccoon and I hold him no malice. Even though I have lost about thirty dollars worth of feeders, I have to admit I have enjoyed the mystery and speculation, trying to determine what type of animals would tear down feeders wired to tree limbs and actually haul them away.



Now I have to find out if I can outsmart a raccoon.

the Ol'Buzzard