Tuesday, February 28, 2017

WHITE HEAT





The arctic is in my soul.  The decade and more I have spent in the Arctic and the sub-arctic have branded me.   The tundra, the frozen rivers, the aurora, the arctic wind, bush planes, the arctic people – these memories are stored in some recess of my mind, and on dark, cold winter nights when the wind is howling outside our cabin, places and faces come back to me.

This is probably why I am drawn to Arctic stories.   I am presently reading White Heat by M. J. McGrath.  



Eddie Kiglatuk is the best, and only woman guide on Ellesmere Island, A Canadian outpost off the northern coast of Greenland.    Like everyone else in the village she struggles with alcoholism.  When one of her clients is killed on a hunt, she is held responsible by the village elders. 

This story is an accurate view of a remote Native village: close family allegiances, village politics, distrust of outsiders and the social dysfunction caused by alcoholism – along with a page turner Arctic mystery.
 
“To the Inuit, eating human flesh was merely a survival tool of last resort.”

If that doesn’t grab your interest…


the Ol’Bizzard

Monday, February 27, 2017

RESISTANCE PUBLISHING



Attached is a letter to the editor that I just submitted to our local on-line news paper.

Feel to use any or all parts in your own Resistance Publishing.


PRESIDENT’S TRUMPS FIRST MONTH IN OFFICE.

If you live in the Fox News bubble then Trump’s first month as president has been a resounding success. 

However, if you live in the world of actual facts, cause and effect, then Trumps first month is troubling.

Trump’s selection of Steve Bannon, a white supremacist member of the alt-right, as Whitehouse Chief Strategist is contrary to traditional American values.

Trump has unnecessarily alienated Mexico; a five-billion-dollar trading partner.

His withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership will increase the consumer cost of all Asian products coming into the United States and result in Asian trading partners turning to China and moving away from trade with the United States.

Trump has unnecessarily alienated the Australian Prime Minister – a country that has been our ally in all wars since WW-2.

Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim band on counties that have not been involved in terrorism against the United States has further fueled resentment of the US in the Arab world.  

Trumps business conflicts of interest are glaring and can only be fully known by him releasing his income tax records – which he refuses.


Trumps ties to Russia and to the Putin regime are troubling, and the question that must be answered is: were the members of the Trump election team in communication and complicit with the Russian effort to influence our Presidential election?  

Trump’s over the top attack on the free press is in line with other authoritarian regimes of dictatorships. 

Then there are the misrepresentations, exaggerations and the outright lies, labeled as alternative facts, that float freely from the Trump Whitehouse almost daily.  

This is by no means a comprehensive list and should trouble all Americans.

 the Ol'Buzzard

Friday, February 24, 2017

OLD MAN GRUMBLES






Old women can complain about things; but it doesn’t come off the same way as old men grumbling.   When we grumble we are looked at differently:  advancing senility – crotchety old bastard – old man yells at clouds….. 





My wife and I went shopping yesterday and she complained that I kept bitching under my breath.
  
So here it is: am I wrong?

1.    We were food shopping in Walmart and two women were in with dogs: one with a boxer on a leash and another carrying this little harry bastard in her arms.  The dogs took one look at each other and went bat shit.   Why the hell would anyone carry a dog into a shopping center – especially one with food?   Are they looking for attention?  For every person that comes up and says ‘what a cute dog,’ there are twenty that are looking and thinking ‘what an asshole, dogs don’t belong in here.’   Don’t even get me started about dogs in restaurants.

2.    Women are absolutely unconscious when they are shopping.  They park their carts in the middle of the isle and then stand in front of a display and meditate while people are lined up on both sides waiting to get by – they seem totally unconscious that there are other people around them.    Either that, are they run into friends and stand at an intersection talking and unconsciously blocking traffic from every isle.

3.    Huge women driving motorized shopping carts are damn right dangerous.   They come down a narrow isle with the attitude of ‘get out of my way, can’t you see me coming?’


4.    This seems to be a rave against women; but in actual facts men don’t do these things.   However, I get really confrontational when I see a man packing a pistol in a public place.  I would walk up to him and offer to protect him until he gets back to his car, just in case the Walmart greeter or one of the women cashiers try to attack him – but I know I have to go home with my wife and would catch hell.
 
5.    Then when we checked out the young cashier puts my bag of Fritos (the other food group) in the shopping bag full of can goods.


I figure once a man has moved into his seventies and beyond he doesn’t owe anybody an apology for ole-man-bitching.   It is one of our last pleasures.
the Ol’Buzzard


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

THE HOLY BIBLE – OL’BUZZARD VERSION





GENESIS: OR HOW IT CAME ABOUT THAT GOD CREATED THE WORLD.


WARNING – FOR ADULTS ONLY:
This story contains some of the Adult Themes and language used by President Donald Trump.



God was a young god.  Sometimes He would ask his father where He came from, but his father would tell Him to shut up and eat His honey.   His father and mother were always locking themselves in their celestial bedroom with other gods and goddesses, drinking wine and make strange noises - and they wouldn’t let him in.  

When God would complain to his mother, she would always tell him to go play.   God sulk in the corner for eons.   When his father asked Him what was wrong, God told his father that all the other children of gods had realms to play in, but He didn’t have one.   Finally, to shut him up, his father showed Him a small planet in a distance solar system and told Him He could have that planet – He could be God of that planet, if He would go away and leave the adults alone while they partied. 

In the beginning the earth was without form and void but it was full of dinosaurs.   God soon got tired of watching the dinosaurs so he killed them all.

God had attend the Wharton School of Creationism and now His father had given Him His own planet, so He felt quite confident as a Majestic Deity . 
 
He made lions; but the lions were always trying to eat each other, so He made sheep and zebras for the lions to eat; but the sheep and zebras were hungry.    He said, ‘fuck-it let them eat grass.’

God thought to Himself, I should have someone to worship me.  Here I am the God of this planet and these dumb animals don’t even know it.

He decided to make a man that looked like himself.    He built a beautiful garden with six apple trees and put the man in it.   But the man was always masturbating or else trying to mount the sheep, so God made a woman with the same anatomy as His mother, so that the man would have someone to have sex with, and leave the sheep alone. 

God would hide in the tree and watch the man and the woman fornicate, and that was cool; but the humans He had created were so engrossed with each other, they were not paying attention to him. 

So, God decided He would make some laws that His humans would have to obey, and that way the humans would have to recognize Him as their Lord and Creator.  

He brought the two people in front of him and told them they could eat the fruit from the other five scrawny apple trees, but they were not allowed to eat the apples from this best tree. 

 ‘That will teach them who is in charge and who they must worship,’ God thought. 

The man didn’t care which tree he ate from as long as Eve would put out.   But soon after God’s pronouncement, Eve had PMS.    She told Adam that God was and narcissistic idiot and a voyeur that was always trying to grab her by her pussy.   She said there was no reason for them not to have the best apples.    She told Adam he was cut-off until he grew a pair, stood up to God, and brought her the best fruit. 

Adam thought about it: Obey God and have no sex, or get her the damn apple and get laid.   The choice was easy. 

When Adam disobeyed God, God threw a temper tantrum and ran the humans out of the orchard.

After that Eve got pregnant, then pregnant again.   After a lot of incest there were the Jewish people in the land of Egypt.  

To be continued.   Next the tale of Moses.


  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

ASK A JEW ABOUT THE OLE TESTAMENT



YOU MIGHT ASK A JEW ABOUT  CHRISTIAN  FUNDAMENTALIST BELIEF IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.   HE CAN GIVE YOU AN ANSWER; BUT REMEMBER - IN THE END,  HIS ANSWER WILL STILL BE STEEPED IN RELIGIOUS BULLSHIT. 

I just posted about a letter-to-the-editor I wrote on religion.    It brought this clip to mind.  







The Bible was written as a fable to control people; a story with a moral, for a people who lived in the desert and for whom a wheelbarrow was cutting edge technology.   That there are people today that take it literally is fucking nuts.   Like Black, I can't be gracious. 




Science facts and religion are not compatable.  Either you live in a world of makebelileve, or you live in the real world.
the Ol'Buzzard

THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF RELIGION






I sent this letter-to-the-editor of our local online newspaper.   I don’t know why I bothered other than I was curious to see what responses I would receive.  

WE ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION

It bothers me when I read comments from people declaring that the United States is a Christian Nation.

I know it is hard for some people to accept; but we are not a Christian Nation.   We are not a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or atheist Nation.   Our Constitution gives us the right to practice any religion – whatever it might be.   It does not give any group of people the right to claim the nation for themselves and impose their religious views. 

The First Amendment to the Constitution plainly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Thomas Jefferson called it the separation of church and state.

Maine is a liberal state so I was surprised when the next day I had seventeen comments.   Only two agreed with me and fifteen ranged from: I feel sorry for you, but you are wrong: to - you are a godless atheist and don’t know what you are talking about – including Bible quotes; also a couple of Muslim rants.

I don’t know if this is an accurate cross section of our area or did I just stir the pot of some local religious fundamentalist congregation?

It reminds me of a paragraph that Isaac Asimov wrote, “Fundamentalist are convinced beyond argument of both their rightness and their righteousness.”

the Ol’Buzzard







Friday, February 17, 2017

A PISSANT IN THE COSMOS





I got up this morning at seven o-clock, went down stairs and started the woodstove while my wife fed the demanding cats.   



We have to wait an hour to eat breakfast because of pills my wife takes.   So back upstairs to my office, den, mancave (I hate that word- it is so prissy, phony macho) and did twenty minutes on my total-gym.  

I hadn’t worked out in three days because of all the shoveling and snow moving after each storm. 


 

Today we are going down town to shake off the cabin fever.   We will have a nice lunch out, walk around town, get our mail at the post office, go by the new kitchen store, and of course drop in to the used book store before returning home.  

Meantime the planet is warming faster than any time short of an asteroid collision or massive volcano eruption.    The Kepler space craft has confirmed 100 new planets.   



The cosmos is expanding and showing no sign of slowing down.   Parallel universes are being studied by theoretical physicist.  Light is being bent by gravitation, time can be altered by speed and I am thinking very seriously of having fish and chips for lunch.




Just another day in the foothills of western Maine.




the Ol’Buzzard

 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

BLIZZARD AFTERMATH




Snow ended early this morning.  That should be all of it for a few days.   The weather report shows  next week with just a few flurries and temps near forty over the weekend.   All total, out of these back to back storms we probably got well over two feet.






A good three feet of snow pack with deeper drifts.



The wind keeps the west side of our house  somewhat clear.


We went into town Tuesday morning before the storm and stopped by the health food store for local eggs and butter, and found that summer garden seeds were on display.  Actually that is the first sign of spring, and it's kind of positive, with all the crap that is going on politically. to see something that indicates that life is still going on as usual.  

2016 was a hectic year for us: my wife diagnosed with breast cancer - her surgery, and back-and-forth trips for radiation treatment and check ups.  She is cancer free now and I want this summer to be a stress free time we can spend with each other and do the simple things we enjoy together. 

Solstice is thirty-two days away.  I don't know if  the snow will be gone and we will be able to dance naked in the back yard to celebrate the change of season - we may need snow shoes.

the Ol'Buzzard


Monday, February 13, 2017

BLIZZARD CONDITIONS






Snow started about 24 hours ago with wind gust up to forty mph.  I dug out just before dark last night; again at seven this morning and it is still snowing at 4 p.m.  So far we have received about 24 inches.   I will wait until tomorrow morning and dig out again.

I have a hundred-foot +/-  U-shaped drive and it took me about three hours this morning with a snow blower and shovel to clear it.  As fast as I was removing the snow the wind would fill back in behind me and the young man that plows our road would pack the mouth of the drive. 

I just went back out a few minutes ago and had to dig out the vents to my two heaters.   There is nearly a foot of snow to be moved again.

Here are two pictures from my back window and a picture of the back of my house without snow.  As you can see the snow has reached my windows and it is still snowing. 








those views are from the window on the left.  Snow half way up the first pane.




Also a couple of pix from my front kitchen window; before and after.   Much of this snow has piled up from sliding off my metal roof; but I am a tall man and the snow pack is up to my crotch – not including the depths of the drifts. 

viewed from the right window.   Creeping up the window.
  








I have said that I love the winter and I love the snow, but I could use a few days’ break.   We have another storm coming in on Wednesday and Thursday.

I need to haul wood tomorrow from my backyard woodshed to my wood storage structure at my back steps, I also need to rake snow from may shed roofs.  It will have to be done on snowshoes. 

It is all a part of living in rural Maine.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

I have said it before BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR







After a January of freakishly warm weather for Maine, it seems we have moved into the catch-up mode.  
Four days ago we had a nor-easter dropping eight inches of snow, Saturday – yesterday – we picked up six more inches of light powder.  Tonight we have a blizzard forecast with winds gusting to forty knots and snow accumulation well over a foot, with a good chance we will lose power.  

We are in the 14 to 20 range


And another storm forecast for Wednesday and Thursday that could drop another foot. 

I love the winter and I love the snow.   The question now is where to put it all?   Roads are getting narrow and banks high. 






But at least it is cold and it is snow.   It is the rain/snow/sleet I dislike.

the Ol’Buzzard 

TRUMP'S FIRST THREE WEEKS AS PRESIDENT ESTABLISHES A NEW NORM




DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM?

After 28 people, including 20 children, were massacred in Sandy Hook Elementary School I honestly thought there would be some concerted move to control gun access.   But instead it set a new higher standard of acceptability.



Now shooting with less than a dozen casualties don’t make the papers, or you find them on page six.

We now accept gun violence as the norm.

The danger we are facing is that the outrageous actions of the new Trump administration are coming at us so fast, that soon it will be accepted as the norm, and the bar on what is not acceptable will be raised.



We will be living in a new and scary Nation. 


the Ol’Buzzard

Thursday, February 9, 2017

RESISTANCE PUBLISHING




Below is a copy of an open letter to a Maine Senator that I just sent out to the news paper in Augusta, our Maine capital.   

 I feel it is not enough to send letters to our politicians and to call them when a grievance arises; but by publishing open letters to your Senators and Congress persons in state news papers you are more likely to get their attention.  It is also important when they cast a vote against the Trump overreaches to acknowledge your support.

I urge you to Resistance publish.

An open letter to Senator Susan Collins.

I really appreciate your vote against Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.  As a retired school teacher and principal I readily concur that she was and is unqualified for the position.

Your willingness to cross party lines and vote your principles is the reason I willingly cross my party line and vote for you, though I am a registered Democrat. 

I was disappointed in your vote for Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, as I feel his racist background was disqualifying. 

I would ask that you take a close look at the nominee for Supreme Court Justice and that he is well vetted before deciding to cast your vote.  


This is a new era we face; and rest assured politicians will be held accountable for all their votes when the results of this new regime is tallied.

Feel free to use any part in composing a letter for publication to your state's Senators. 

We also resist that stay at home
the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES






Senator Tammy Duckworth lost her legs in the Iraq war.








Donald Trump had a boo boo on his foot and couldn't serve



the Ol'Buzzard

FINALLY HE IS ENJOYING HIMSELF

 


AND WELL HE SHOULD









the Ol'Buzzard

A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?





YOU CAN’T SQUARE A CIRCLE




On the news we constantly hear about a conflict of interest arising between the Trump empire and the Trump Presidency. 

Last month Eric Trump took a business trip to Uruguay.   He was accompanied by the Secret Service, which is not unusual as children of Presidents routinely get Secret Service protection.  

However, this trip cost taxpayers nearly $100,000.   Again, this trip was to conduct commercial business for the Trump empire – not illegal, but…    


the Ol’Buzzard

RESISTANCE

You can stay home, but still stay active.

Just a reminder: Call your Senator and express concerns about the racist background of Jeff Sessions, and request they take a close look at his background before casting a vote. 

Our calls do matter.   Politicians are primarily concerned about their next election and if enough opposition is expressed about a vote it can change minds. 

the Ol'Buzzard

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

POLITICAL COMMENT ON THE SUPER BOWL



Probably no one wants to  again have to hear that the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl.  But, it was an exciting game.  

Bill Maher ranted about the the quarterback, coach and owner being friends of Trump.  Multi-millionaires hang with their own clique - and they dropped in my estimation; but we must remember that New England as a block voted Democrat against Trump and, of course, Georgia voted for Trump. 

Having said that, the Falcons played an excellent game - a great team.  

There are people that don't like the Patriots, but you can't tie them to Donald Trump because of the politics of a few participants in the team.  

There is no place in football for politics. 

I have never never felt like saying this before: but fuck you Bill Maher.

I know no one probably gives a shit; but god dam it - five Super Bowls... New England Patriots are quite a football team. 

the Ol'Buzzard 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

MANUFACTURING JOBA ARE NOT COMING BACK






There was an article in the latest Discovery Magazine about robotics taking over manufacturing.   There are great advances in robotics and the latest is programing robots to teach themselves and to be able to communicate.   This is a breakthrough that will allow factory robots to work as a unit: detecting flaws in manufacturing and self-correcting.

At present, about ten percent of manufacturing is robotics.   As robotic programing advances, more and more manufacturing jobs will be lost as factories become robotic. 

 It is a goal of most manufacturers to eventually move to complete robotics: manufacturing in the dark.    Robots don’t take breaks, they don’t work in shifts and they don’t require medical and pension plans. 







A robotics factory can run 24/7: non-stop manufacturing.   The article proposed that by 2030 most factories will be ninety percent robotics.

Manufacturing centers, like the mid-west, are going to have to move on.   Manufacturing may return to the U.S. but jobs are not coming back.  

There was a time when blacksmiths and wheelwrights realized that their skills were no longer needed.   The same now goes for laid off factory workers.   Their day and their time is quickly passing. 

It is difficult for a man or woman who has worked for most of their lives in steel mills or paper mills etc. to find themselves unemployed and unemployable.  

Especially now, with Republicans in charge, programs to assist the unemployed retrain or just survive are on the chopping block.    It is ironic that the people who supported Trump are the ones that will suffer the most by the Republican takeover.   


the Ol’Buzzard

Friday, February 3, 2017

WE COULD USE A LITTLE HUMOR



With all the depressing Trump news, we could all use a little humor this day.


Here's my offering: Dusty and Lefty from the movie Prairie Home Companion.









the Ol'Buzzard

Wednesday, February 1, 2017