Archive for October 2014

10-30-2014. Journal Entry-Night Owls & Styx!   Leave a comment

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‘Don’t  Screw With Us Night-Owls’

I must be losing what’s left of my mind.  Sit back and let me explain.  Most people are either early morning people or night-owls.  For as long as I can remember I’ve been a night-owl.  I loved being out and about when everyone else was at home in their warm beds.  Even when I was working those nine-to-five jobs I always managed to stay awake until at least midnight and still make it to work on time without any problem.  My best years were those as a police officer when I could work as many overnights as I wanted.  Those days are sadly gone forever as you shall see.

This morning was a perfect example of my new life. My better-half works some ungodly shifts but more often than not she begins work at 05:30 am. That requires her to bound out of bed in her ridiculously upbeat manner at 4:00 am to begin her endless pre-work preparations.  As quiet as she tries to be she still manages to wake me up almost every day.  Slowly over the last few years I’ve been quietly forced to adopt her work schedule whether I like it or not.

Fortunately I went to bed early enough last night that being awakened at 4:00 am was annoying but workable. I actually was awakened at 3:45 am when the damn cat decided it was time to be fed.  So I made the coffee, fed the cat, visited the facilities and quickly returned to my warm bed.  I tried desperately to go back to sleep but nothing doing. I was wide awake with nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Thanks a lot lovey!

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I turned on the tube and what do I find but a Styx rock concert on AXS TV.  I poured a large coffee, pulled the bed covers tightly around me, and settled down for the next two hours and rocked my life away.  That group sounded as good today as it did way back when. The better-half left sometime during the concert giving me the required peck on the cheek as she ran for the door. Twenty minutes later she called in a tizzy to tell me she’d forgotten her bag full of paperwork that she  needed it and could I bring it to her as soon as possible.

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‘Before’

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‘After’

Of course, I finished watching the concert, then I got dressed and did fifty minutes on the treadmill.  There’s something very wrong with sweating through your clothing at 6:00 am.  I finished with the treadmill, hit the shower, and then decided to deliver her work supplies to her. Of course she also demanded in her oh so nice way a Dunkin Donuts coffee which required me to make yet another stop. Isn’t love grand?

So after all of that I arrived at her store with all of the paperwork and her coffee.  I made the visit as short as possible and quickly left after reciprocating with an obligatory kiss on her cheek. I stood outside in the parking lot for a second and glanced down at my phone, it was only 8:45 am. That’s just so wrong on so many levels.  What the hell was I becoming?  She’s turning me into a morning person and I can’t seem to stop her.  Is my life over? Woe is me!

I drove directly home, parked the car, and marched my ass back to the bedroom.  The next two hours were heaven on earth and that little nap was even better than those famous afternoon power naps everyone’s always raving about.  I was sure the rest of the day would be a real yawner but I needed to remember one important thing.  I’d be able to get up tomorrow morning and do it all over again.

Someone just shoot me now, please!

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10-28-2014 Journal Entry-A Visit to Mussel Beach!   Leave a comment

I’m not sure how it happened but we’re enjoying one gorgeous Indian Summer day.  The sun is shining, the day is crystal clear, and the wind is blowing with a slight chill.   My better-half is again on a day off and again obsessing about chores around the house until I want to scream. We’ve been house bound for a week and days off are meant to be DAYS OFF. It took some doing but I strong-armed her into getting out for some picture taking and a ride along coast. 

I have to admit it was one of my best ideas ever.  The beaches were empty of tourists and the first one we visited was peaceful and quiet and highly enjoyable.

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As we traveled south we stopped occasionally to snap a few pics and all the while I was directing us towards the Kennebunkport area.  We normally visit that town once or twice each summer but this year we were just too busy.  I was planning a nice surprise lunch at Federal Jack’s Restaurant and a leisurely stroll around town to window shop.  Federal Jack’s is also the home of the Shipyard Brewing Company, a perennial favorite of my better-half who is responsible for keeping their shares of stock at such a high level.

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My side-story for today started six years ago and involved a plate of bad mussels at a nearby restaurant which will remain nameless (Olive Garden), a few drinks, followed by three hours of projectile vomiting where I’m sure I set a new world record for distance.  Since that time I’ve been unable to look at, think about or eat mussels.  Over the last few months I’ve found myself tempted to try some once again but always chickened out.  I was determined today to finally get that food monkey off my back.  My order of mussels was delivered, consumed, and thoroughly enjoyed.

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‘Before’

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“After”

They  were so  briny and  garlicky,  I was in hog heaven.  I’m so happy to have mussels returned to  the top of my favorite  food’s list. It’s been a long  time coming and a big hooray for me. We did our stroll through town, enjoyed some window shopping, and then returned to the car for the ride home. A slow and easy ride north along the coast road.

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All in all it was a wonderful day and I’m glad we took advantage of it.  The next trip to this area will probable involve snow, ice, parka’s, tassel hats, and gloves. There’s nothing more fun or colder than walking the beach in January and February.

One last photograph that I stumbled upon as we were passing a very old cemetery.  This is the place my late father, the golfer, would have wanted to be buried.  It’s not often you can see a golf course and ball washer from your plot. 

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10-26-2014 Journal Entry-Leaves & Chickens!   Leave a comment

I’m still waiting . . . . for what you might ask . . . . for dryness. This last week here in Maine was like the monsoon season in India except for the bone chilling icy cold nights.  I mentioned in a recent post about all the effing leaves I’ve been dealing with and I’m here to tell you it hasn’t gotten any better.  Not only do we have more leaves than before but they’re now soaking wet. There’s nothing harder than trying to rake giant piles of wet leaves because they refuse to cooperate.  I’m only bringing it up again because it’s my one and only chore for today and I just don’t want to do it.

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‘Dumb Birds’

As I write this post I’m tightly wrapped in my red dragon blanket, still in bed, sipping my coffee, and looking out the window at another gray and damp day. Most of the trees have dropped their leaves except for a few of the more stubborn oaks.  They always seem to hang on a little longer than the others before giving it up for the Winter.  As usual I can just make out a few squirrels romping through the nearby tree branches enjoying the last days of Fall. I won’t see much of them again until we have a few warmer than normal days later in the Winter.  They’ll sneak out, look around, smell the air, and try to find an acorn or two. Then it’ll be back to their nests to await Spring’s arrival.  I guess those squirrels have the right idea.  I’m trying to do much the same thing if you think about it.  If it’s good enough for a bunch of furry little squirrels then it should work for me as well, right?

Most of the birds have headed south and at times I envy them.  The woodpeckers, the blue jays, and chickadees are back in large numbers and will be around for the entire winter.  We supply them with plenty of food and suet to help them through the worst of it.  It always amazes me that any of them ever survive the Winter.  This morning I found our backyard filled with black birds and I’m not sure what they were looking for but they working hard at it.

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‘Stupid Birds’

For the first time in a week I can actually see blue skies and the sun. I can remember as a kid how much my friends and I loved climbing onto and under the piles of leaves.  My Dad found it amusing for as long as it took him to realize we were making more work for him.  Maybe today I’ll revert to an earlier version of myself, pile up some leaves, and dive right in.  The smell of those wet leaves should take me right back to age seven for a few minutes. Then reality will set back in and I’ll realize I’m sitting in a pile of wet leaves  in the middle of my yard and giving the neighbors a reason to question my sanity.

As I stepped out my back door I received another big surprise.  From out of nowhere two chickens arrived at my door and are refusing to leave.  Now I’ll be forced to spend time today polling my neighbors to see who they belong to.  I’ll never again feel guilty about eating chickens . . . they’re too stupid to live.

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“Dumb and Stupid Birds’

Anyone out there interested in a few chicken wings?

10-24-2014 Journal Entry – Rain, Rain, Go Away!   Leave a comment

It’s just another rainy, crappy, and gray October day here in Maine.  It’s a great day to stay in the warm house and to catch up on a million things I’ve been putting off.  With that in mind the cat and I retired to the man-cave to relax, watch a little TV, and work on the computer.  My better-half has the day off and is  enjoying herself in the kitchen.  She’s baking cookies, talking on the phone with family members, and preparing Halloween treats for mailing to her kids.  It looked like a great day was in the making for both of us.

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Just as I was finally beginning to relax  my better-half popped into my inner sanctum for a visit.  She gave me a kiss and an even bigger hug which while appreciated also told me something was up.  She intended to take a short shopping trip and was hinting around for a traveling companion.  Before I knew it I was changing my clothes and preparing to face the outside world.

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The traffic was heavier than anticipated and people were driving badly as always seems to be the case  when the rains come.  After traveling for a few minutes she decided the trip would be shortened from three stops to just one.  I assumed it was because of the rain but it may have been due to all of my swearing and cursing at passing motorists.  We arrived at the store, parked, and began walking towards the entrance.  Almost immediately the sky opened up and the rains came.  I didn’t realize I could still run that fast but I did.  As we entered the store I was told in no uncertain terms that this was to be a short power shopping visit for just a  few essential items  . . .  Yeah right!  Forty-five minutes and a full shopping cart later we were on our way towards the door. We could see through the front windows that  the rain was coming down even harder than before.  I was convinced to bring the car around to the front door where I could pick up her majesty.  I reached the car, drove it to the entrance of the store, and we loaded the groceries into the trunk.  We were wet and uncomfortable and  I could’t wait to get home.

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It was more of the same during the drive home.  I wish I had a dollar for every horn I heard honking and every finger I saw  thrown in anger.  It’s amazing to me how people from Maine can drive normally in two feet of snow and  a blizzard but can’t deal with a moderate amount of rainfall.  I found myself wishing for snow for just a moment but then good sense prevailed.

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We arrived home and quickly pulled into the garage to get out of the rain.  Within seconds of unloading the first bag of groceries I looked outside and the rain had stopped completely.  It never fails . . .

 

 

10-22-2014. Journal Entry-A Return to Sanity!   Leave a comment

I’m happy to announce my computer problems have finally been resolved.  That new Linksys Smart router got the heave-ho and I was forced to reinstall my original so called out-dated router.  As soon as I did that the entire network came online and life was good again.  I delivered the effing not-so-smart router back to Best Buy, returned home, sat on my ass, and relaxed for the first time in 5 days.  I still have “The Cloud” to install but after this last week it will just have to wait for a while.  I’ve had it with computers for now.

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I need to get back to some semblance of normalcy and to take care of a few things that need to be handled before the snow flies. I’m patiently waiting for a day or two of dry weather because it’s Fall in Maine and I have leaves to deal with.  In certain parts of the yard they’re knee deep and getting deeper.

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The town has finished with their road repaving efforts and have moved on to other jobs.  Things are quiet again, just the way I like it.  The season is progressing and we’re starting to see flocks of birds beginning to congregate for their migration south. We passed this small pond yesterday and snapped a few pictures of these Canadian geese. They stop in this pond every year like clockwork to rest and feed before continuing on their way.

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I’m looking forward to a few weeks without special occasions to clutter up my schedule.  November’s coming which includes my better-half’s birthday and Thanksgiving.  Then it’s on to the madness of Christmas and New Years with 2015 just around the corner. This year has flown by  . . . .

10-20-2014. Journal Entry-Welcome to My Computer Hell!   Leave a comment

I’m not at all sure when this posting will make it’s way to my blog. I’m suffering through computer hell this week. I made the decision to finally upgrade my home network with a new and much smarter router to prepare for the installation of the “My Cloud” I purchased. My plan was to do the cloud upgrade only after I was sure that everything on the network was functioning properly.

I did all of the necessary research I could to prepare myself and started the process. My network is loaded with nine devices of one sort or another and the installation instructions appeared detailed and specific. Unplug the Ethernet cables from the old router and plug them into the new one. Easy, right? I reset my system and then began resetting each of the devices to the new router’s network. It was going so well I should have known it couldn’t last. My desktop computer is located on the first floor and it recognized the new network, had excellent signal strength, but offered no internet access. So began the madness . . . .

To make a long story short all of our smart phones and IPads are working fine. The Xbox, CD player, and printer are fine and working as expected. My desktop and one laptop will not cooperate. My Surface which has always been stable and a great device decided to crash just when I needed it most to still posting my blog. I have since discovered that the hard drive on the Surface crashed and the cost to have it fixed is more than I spent to purchase it. Isn’t that just typical? . . . .

I dismantled my downstairs desktop and moved it closer to the router. I did that and after a few minutes it began working as expected or so I thought. Since it was supposedly working I then moved it back to it’s original position. As I was making the move I accidentally bumped against the door frame and broke off the wifi antenna on the rear of the console. I spent an hour repairing the damage, turned on the unit and of course it didn’t work. The BS continues . . . .

So for the last 72 hours I’ve been totally focused on getting the SOB of a network up and running. So far it’s coincidently cost me my Surface, a purchase of a wifi range extender that doesn’t work, and a broken and inoperative desktop computer. I suppose I could try to blog from my smart phone but I refuse to even try. I’ve got a few more things to attempt before I give up completely. God knows when I’ll be back on the blog with the ability to do the things that I need to do such as posting photographs.

I’ll continue this commentary as I go along. I’m at my wits end and dagerously close to scrapping the entire setup and buying all new computers. I shall return . . . .

It’s now two days later and I’ve accomplished nothing. I was blessed with an hour and a half telephone call to the tech support staff at Linksys. The girl who was assigned to my problem was nice enough but I could only understand every other word. She took over control of my computer remotely and began changing settings and working her magic. The total result was nothing. No answers, no fix, just a referral to an affiliated company for an $80.00 software fix that was good for just 90 days. I could then have a full year of coverage for just $199.99. What an effing deal, I think it could be categorized as an old fashion “Bait and Switch” scheme. I hung up abruptly before I took out my mounting frustrations on the idiot I was talking to.

Today is the day I’ve officially given up. I’m going to try and remove everything I purchased from Best Buy and return my system to the status quo of a week ago. Then a quick trip to the store for a refund which will free me up to pursue other options to correct my difficulties. I’m just guessing but I have a sneaking suspicion that after I put everything back together it still won’t function. With all of the settings changes made by their tech support I fear my entire system has been compromised and will be unusable. Maybe I can get some sort of posting done with my IPad. I’ll let you know . . . some day.

Kill me now . . . .

10-18-2014 Journal Entry-Some Peace, No Quiet!   Leave a comment

One of the reason I love living in southern Maine is the peace and quiet. There are days when the quiet is absolute except for a few cars occasionally whizzing by. This road we live on has been a nightmare for years and in the winter accidents occur in and around our home quite often. It has quite the collection of potholes of every size and shape along with frost heaves  to make things really interesting. For those of you that don’t know, a frost heave is a large mound that erupts beneath the road when the ground begins to freeze in the Fall.   Our normal flat potholed road turns into a an amusement park ride. Living here requires that we develop and maintain a good relationship with a  competent mechanic. I average a front-end wheel alignment every two years and that doesn’t include the costs for damage to wheel rims and tires. Once Spring arrives the road immediately returns to normal.

I was awakened this morning when my bed and house began vibrating and shaking. At first I thought we were having one of our occasional earthquakes but a glance out the front window explained everything. There was a gigantic machine rolling down the road, spitting smoke in every direction, chewing up asphalt and spitting out a fine black powder.

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Apparently the town fathers finally decided to pave our  road and of course never notified anyone who lives here.  Just one big noisy machine after another beginning a 7 am and lasting  the entire day. For most of the day I was forced to stay at home because my driveway was blocked at first by a dump truck and then later by a huge ten ton roller. I was thrilled to see my tax dollars working for me for the first time in a long while. Since Maine is known for it’s over the top approach to spending taxes on welfare for illegals, I never thought it would ever happen so I was stunned. I had finally won the tax lottery.

Here are a series of photos of the big project  from start to finish.

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Here’s my reward for you for being made to look at my boring pictures.  It’s a limerick I wrote with all of the liberals politicians in mind who are determined to oust Republican governor LePage.   It would be oh so sweet if LePage was reelected. It would make them crazy and hopefully send them right over the edge once again.

There once were politicians from Maine

Who in truth were a liberal pain.

They smile and they lie

But  as hard as they try,

They’re too  dumb to get out of the rain.

10-16-2014 TV Rehab Needed!   Leave a comment

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As with most people of my generation, I’m addicted to television.  A TV addiction is much like a heroin addiction.  All the while your doing it you know it’s no good for you but you can’t stop yourself.  We’re  unfortunate in that we were born before TV and were hooked at an early age when it became readily available to the masses.

I remember those days with a B&W TV screen the size of a cereal box turned toward the dining room table so we could all watch as we ate our meal.  A large antenna on the roof that rotated 360 degrees to help us pick up the signal.  Three fantastic networks held our attention for years and made the TV our friend. It was on constantly in the house more for the company it provided than for the enjoyment of what was being aired.

As things progressed over the years my addiction really took hold and I was lost.  The only thing that kept me from being lost forever was my time in the Army. I was located in a somewhat isolated part of South Korean and we had no television whatsoever.  Two years which allowed me to kick the habit and resume a normal life (if you consider the Army a normal life).  It was quite the shock to my system when I finally returned home.  The TV at home was now in color, the screen was three times as big, and there were so many more programs to watch.  It was all I could do to control myself.

As the years went by it became a love/hate relationship.  Most of the programing was garbage and I found myself watching things that were ridiculous.  That has continued unabated until now as I sit and watch a few hundred HD channels filled with more and more crap.  Since there doesn’t seem to be any kind of rehab available for this addiction I guess I’ll continue to watch, be disgusted with myself and the programming, and continue to bitch and complain about the increasing costs.

I’ve always enjoyed trashing most of the pop culture nonsense that the airwaves and cables deliver to me every day and I hope that continues.  I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when I recently stumbled onto a program I actually liked  and will continue to watch.  It’s a program on the Sundance Channel called “The Approval Matrix”.

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‘Host: Neal Brennan’

Neal Brennan is someone I’ve never heard of and and I knew absolutely nothing of the backstory of how the Approval Matrix originated.  Finding out it was a product of New York Magazine would normally have put me off a bit but surprise, surprise, it didn’t.  I found myself captivated almost immediately by the format, the variety of guest commentators, and the subject matter.  We now have a show that will help us determine what is cool, what isn’t and why.

Watching Brennan deliver his lines is priceless.  It seems as if the writers are channeling Dennis Miller but at half speed.  It’s smart comedy for those people who are willing to pay close attention.

Finally I have a smart and funny show to bookmark and to watch religiously.

10-14-2013. Journal Entry-More Nonsense and a Cat!   Leave a comment

I’ve had 24 hours for my blood pressure to return to normal levels after receiving that letter from Planned Parenthood.  It really got me going for a while there.  But on to better things to talk about today which will help me relax a little.

It’s a day of nonsense for me.  I finished a good solid 40 minute workout on the treadmill which left me soaking wet and somewhat winded, it was great. I spent an additional ten minutes in my continuing efforts to get my cat Stormy to walk on it with me.  It’s taken me six months just to get him to sit on the damn treadmill but he’s gone like a shot as soon as I turn it on.  I’m nothing if not persistent and I hope he lives long enough for me to accomplish this feat. He knows exactly what I want him to do but he’s just dragging this out to mess with me. I sometimes think he’s actually the one training me.

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‘Here’s what I want.’

‘Here’s what I got.’

Have I mentioned recently that I’m a bit of a klutz.  I trip over things, fall into things, drop things and occasionally break things.  It’s a life long issue that appears unfixable.  As I was in my workshop putting the finishing touches to a small book shelf I’ve been building I found it necessary to stain a few small pieces of trim before finishing the project.  I pulled out a quart of stain and an old rag to stain just two small 8 inch pieces.  How much trouble could I get in? That evil klutz that lives inside me decided it was time for another visit to make my life a little more interesting.

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I opened the can of stain carefully after putting on my latex gloves.  I hate getting that stuff on me because it’s as hard as hell to remove.  I picked up the rag and placed  the pieces of trim the on the bench to begin staining. As I turned to pick up the rag my arm struck the nearby can of stain and sent it flying.  Needless to say I now have a stain on the floor of my workshop that’s approximately 6 feet long and four feet wide.  That doesn’t even include the splash-back onto my arms, chest, face and glasses. I ended up spending more time cleaning that up than I did building the damn bookshelf in the first place. The evil klutz got me again.

I then returned to my man-cave to post about Planned Parenthood and what do I find?  No internet connection. I’ve been having periodic problems with my connection for the last few weeks but this time my home network was dead. After running diagnostics, checking cables, cursing a blue streak, and making a quick visit to a nearby Time Warner office, it was once again operating.

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I’ve been considering a complete upgrade of my home network and after today I’m convinced it’s badly needed.  Along with the network upgrade I’ll be adding a home cloud system and hopefully it can all be done at the same time.  At least with my own cloud I’ll feel much more secure about the safety of my music and photographs.

I’m off to take a shower and clean the remainder of the stain from my magnificent body.  It’s like having graffiti on Michelangelo’s “David”.

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That was supposed to be funny in case you were wondering.  After that I foresee a large mug of Jack Daniels and Pepsi to smooth things out a little more.  Another wonderful day in the neighborhood comes to a close.

10-12-2014. Planned Parenthood – The New PETA!   Leave a comment

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I was having a pretty good week all things considered.  I survived a birthday party with a gang of 2-6 year olds, got out of attending a wedding I didn’t want to attend, and built a new book shelf for my man-cave.  I had a solid eight hours of sleep and was feeling at peace with the world.  As everyone knows life always manages to balance the scales whether you like it or not.  If you have a lot of good going on you just know at some point  not so good will soon follow.  Thank you so much Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

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You could say it was a feeling like "a cold shower" or having "someone peeing in your corn flakes" but it was a letter of BS and propaganda from those poor abused folks responsible for all of the initiatives to force religious employers to foot the bill for female employee contraceptives.

Here’s the first thing that caught my eye.

"It is unbelievable. Anti-choice extremists are taking away our rights – and the United States Supreme Court is helping them do it."

I guess anyone who disagrees with them on a matter of "Choice" of any kind must be an extremist.   The first thing you need to know, I am not religious in any way shape or form and I never defend religion and never will.  I will defend their right to disagree with the idiots at Planned Parenthood.  I find it ridiculous and offensive to have a heavily taxpayer funded organization whining about their problems.  Any business owner has the right (or used to) to run their company the way they saw fit.  Any good businessman will tell you the last thing they need is government funded interference.  The US government is a joke when it comes to running anything.  Unfortunately during one of their many bouts of the "politically correct flu" they decided to fund some liberal organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Their next point was this:

"The US Supreme Court decisions are alarming and disheartening. Here at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, we believe women should get to choose which birth control method they want to use. Not her employer."

I actually found myself agreeing with part of that statement. Women should have the right to chose their method of contraception. I just don’t feel that the taxpayers or their employers should be footing the bill.  If you can’t afford contraception try abstaining for a while or let your boyfriend, husband or partner stop at a CVS and pick up some condoms.  There are millions of Americans that feel exactly the same way I do about it.

Here’s a scan of the actual letter.  I blocked out my name and address because those liberals are well known for their vicious hate mail campaigns. I truly dislike organizations that send me junk mail that my tax dollars are paying for. 

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So in closing here’s my message to Planned Parenthood.  Take me off your mailing list until such time your no longer leeching from the taxpayers ($300,000,000.00 at last count).  Then you might have a little credibility in your arguments. Oh yeah, stop misstating the facts and resorting to name calling. You’re starting to sound a little like those desperate folks over at PETA.