Archive for June 2015

06-29-2015 Journal – Down With Cable TV!   Leave a comment

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I’m still in bed. I don’t want to get up. I’m actually bored with this day already and it hasn’t even begun.  What does that tell you?  Nothing I’m willing to bet.
Today is one of those days where it’s been raining for 36 hours, the sky remains cloudy, everything is drenched, and I’m once again stuck indoors. I have a few things on my mind I’d like to accomplish but concentrating on them is problematic.

I seem to have painted myself into a corner. No that’s not really correct. I feel as though I’ve been forced into that corner and had it painted around me. I’m in the throws of a dilemma concerning of all things something that I’ve come to love over many years.  I’m just a few days away from canceling my Dish Network affiliation.   I have the same feelings as I had when I made the decision to eliminate my home landline telephone years ago and to convert to cellular once and for all.  I’m a little uneasy because as we all know, change is sometimes difficult.

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I’ve gotten to this point because cable television as it currently exists is nothing more than a scam.  When I had my old telephone removed it was for the same reasons.  I dislike being manipulated and lied to.  We have the technology to do miraculous things these days but I’m supposed to believe that no one within the television industry can figure out how to set up a system where I can choose those stations I constantly watch and not the hundreds of channels I’m forced to accept as part of their bundle. Then add on a few surcharges and taxes and all of a sudden it’s costing me $70.00 a month to watch those twenty channels I actually frequent. That’s money I’m forced to pay because their basic bundle is being rammed down my throat leaving me just two options. Keeping paying and shut or get the hell out completely.

I’ve been working on my own bundle for TV which I suspect will be in place sometime this summer.  The first thing I’ll do will be to cancel the Dish Network and have their equipment removed from my house.  I’ll then sign up for Netflix and Hulu Plus which will supply me with all the movies and TV programming I could ever want to watch.  Total cost for those services will be no more than $25.00 a month. I will have an additional one time cost for two ROKU devices that allow my second and third TV’s to connect with my home network with access to the Internet.  Total cost for the two devices is $100.00.

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I’ll end up with access to thousands of old and current movies, more television than I could ever watch, and a monthly cost that will save me $50.00 a month for a total yearly saving of $600.00. That’s enough money to pay for my entire car insurance bill for the year.

After all of my time spent researching and the possibility of major savings I’m still uneasy.  I need to suck it up and make the change but for some reason I hesitate.  It requires that I shake off more than forty years of brainwashing where I’ve been constantly told I can’t live without TV and the ever increasing costs they keep shoving down my throat. I’m slowly working through this situation much as I did with the telephones and very soon I’ll have more of my money in my pocket and not in theirs. 

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If and when they again figure out a way to continue increasing my costs I’ll be forced to do away with TV watching entirely and resort to movie watching and TV programming from my vast DVD collection.

I can only assume that many of you are in the same situation and I wish you luck. Land of the free and home of the brave?  Not so much anymore.

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06-27-2015 Journal – Coastal Day Trip!   Leave a comment

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It’s been a great week but with my nephew leaving soon I decided a short road trip was in order.  We rolled out of bed, had breakfast with my better-half, and then hit the road.  We drove south on I-95 to the border with New Hampshire and began our day at the Kittery Trading Post.  My nephew is quite the gun expert and we spent an hour walking through the endless racks of guns. 

If you’ve read this blog in recent weeks you know I have been having serious issues with a skunk who refuses to leave my garden alone.  I’ve been wanting to purchase a .22 caliber rifle for more than a year and with the help from my nephew I did just that.  I already feel bad for that stupid skunk because his days are numbered.

We left Kittery and began the trip north along the coast.  It was a beautiful day and all of the beaches were filled with this years crop of tourists.  We stopped to get a few pictures at the Nubble lighthouse which is probably the most photographed lighthouse in Maine.

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We then continued north through the towns of York Beach, York, Ogunquit, and Wells.  Traffic was much heavier than normal and all of the routes that took us anywhere near the water were jammed with people and cars.  Even with the crowds and traffic we had a great time people watching and catching up on each other’s lives. 

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We stopped for a quick lunch in Kennebunk and continued on through Biddeford and into Saco.  We returned home to meet the better-half and to prepare for our last night together.

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We traveled to Old Orchard beach for a terrific seafood dinner, a walk along the beach, and then onto the amusement park.  I was able to win a couple of $.50 stuffed pigs for my better-half and it only cost me ten bucks.

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Carnival games never seem to change.  The better-half insisted on spending some time at the arcade where she and the nephew played SkeeBall.  With an armload of worthless tickets we made our way towards our car and the return home. You can’t have a night like this without stopping for a little ice cream which was delicious and made the ride home a little more enjoyable.

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The nephew’s flight is scheduled to leave early tomorrow morning so it was early to bed and early to rise and the end of a great week.

06-25-2015 Journal–Fish Story!   Leave a comment

As I began thinking about posting this blog as I awakened this morning it was 4:10 am and I was barely human.  You need to understand something, I am not a fisherman. Nonetheless I was up and on my way for a day of deep sea fishing and thank God for Dunkin Donut’s Coffee.

We arrived at Camp Ellis, Maine, stowed our cooler on the boat and were off to begin the day at 6:00 am. Even though  I’m not a fisherman I really love being on the water regardless of the reason. Weather-wise it was the perfect morning.  It was nice and cool with a light breeze and forecasters were calling for a bright and sunny day.  For once they were right on target.

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My nephew and better-half were all fired up and ready to go and it didn’t take long for their fishing lines to get into the water.  We made a quick stop over a large school of mackerel to fill the live bait tank and then proceeded to our first fishing spot.  The two of them caught almost forty mackerel in fifteen minutes.

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Our guide brought us to one of his favorite fishing holes and within the first hour my better-half snagged four good sized stripped bass and one dumb ass seagull.  The stupid bird insisted on diving into the water and was hooked trying to steal her bait.  Fortunately he was captured, manhandled, and immediately released.  He should have stayed ashore at the nearby McDonalds and had a breakfast of french fries like all of his buddies.  Birds can be so stupid.

I normally don’t post photos of friends and family on the blog but in this case they are demanding it.  Here they are with their prizes.

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A fun day was had by all but we still were happy to return home for a quick shower, a short nap, and to relax until those big fat steaks that I’ll be cooking later were ready to eat.  I think we all need many more days like this one.  This day was the perfect example of the proverbial “mental health day”.  It was fantastic.

06-23-2015 Journal–Rainy Day Trip!   Leave a comment

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As I roll out of bed this morning it’s done with the beginnings of a mediocre and annoying hangover.  It all started with the arrival of my nephew from Dallas at midnight last night.  Unlike my better-half and me, his air travel from Texas went as well as could be expected and he arrived on time with all of his luggage (miracle of miracles). 

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We arrived home where he desperately needed food and drink and some time to relax. We finally made it to bed around 2:30 am after being finished off by a large bottle of really excellent Sangria.  Boy is my head throbbing this morning.

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Our plans for today, if the weather cooperates, include a touristy trip along the coast to Portland Head Light (Lighthouse) at the entrance to Portland Harbor. We cruised through a number of towns on the way including Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, and South Portland. The weather was a huge pain like always but we muddled through.

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Later this evening with my better-half in tow we’ll be off once again for a night of excellent food and drink at one of Portland’s best pubs, The Great Lost Bear.  Hundreds of beers on tap and the super hot chicken wings that could possible set your hair on fire.  A perfect time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the interesting atmosphere and even more interesting people.

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‘One Lone Lobsterman’

The rest of the week should be fun if the weather cooperates. Later in the week we have a deep sea fishing trip scheduled and a few hours on the water chasing and catching a few fish will cap off his visit.

06-21-2015 Journal– Rain, Mexican Food, & Father’s Day!   Leave a comment

The rainy days continue here in Maine.  All the better for our gardens but a little annoying as well.  The better-half surprised me yesterday with an adlib Father’s Day celebration.  We’d leave the house early and look for a small out of the way place to have breakfast.  The only requirement was that the restaurant be small and some where we’d never been before.

This was the best scenery shot of the morning because it rained the entire time we were driving.

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After driving along the coast to several small restaurants we were becoming frustrated.  In one restaurant there was not only a forty-five minute wait for a table but a half-hour wait to get into the stupid parking lot. We quickly decided that wasn’t the place we were looking for.

Twenty minutes later we cruised into the city of South Portland, just across the harbor from Portland.  As we turned a corner what did we stumbled onto but a Mexican restaurant called Taco Trio.  The entire town was barely awake and moving but this tiny little place was bustling with customers. 

After some discussion we both decided on a breakfast burrito with everything. The order arrived twenty minutes later at our tiny little table with two four pound burritos with everything in them. And I do mean everything!!  We had sides of freshly made tomato salsa, a pineapple and cilantro salsa, and enough hot sauce to float a boat. It was the best Father’s Day meal I’ve ever had and I suspect my mouth will still be burning in three more hours.

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One last thing.  The war between me and all of Mother Nature’s critters has come to an end.  Rather than kill as many of them as possible I decided on a more peaceful solution.  Thanks to a nearby Lowes and three hours of hard work I was able to fence in my garden frames.  It’s been two days  now and there’ve been no further middle of the night raids.  Here’s a couple of photo’s of the new setup.

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For the first time in my life I was able to get the upper hand on Mother Nature.  I hope my late father is up there watching.  He was never able to win using electric fencing, human hair, guns, and any thing else he could think of.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY DAD – We finally won one.

06-19-2015 Journal – Back to the Past!   Leave a comment

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I’m spending this rainy morning in bed for at least another hour because watching old reruns of Sports Night has become part of my morning routine. It was a show I enjoyed watching back in 2000 even though I’m really not a  sports guy.  The show still holds up pretty well and the inane patter between the characters still makes me smile.

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Have any of you noticed just how many of the old shows seem to be resurfacing on such a large number of channels.  It started two years ago for me when I stumbled upon reruns of Sgt. Preston of the Yukon.  I never missed that show as a kid and thoroughly enjoyed watching all of the episodes once again. Is it a little lame? Absolutely! Is it an easy and relaxing half hour? Absolutely! Then followed Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Dragnet, One Adam 12, and a host of others. I began to wonder why it was happening so frequently.

Can it be that the networks are beginning to see a change in viewing habits? Is it possible that the ratings for these old shows are higher than those of the half hour long commercials that seem to be on every channel?  Is it more fun to spend a relaxing half hour watching a show where the good guys always win and the bad guys always lose? Can it be that people are sick to death of watching hour long shows about corrupt politicians, corrupt police officers, heroic serial killers like Dexter or pedophiles who aren’t responsible for their criminal behavior and blame everything on society? It’s a politically correct "No-No" watching those old shows where it’s celebrated to be patriotic, honest, religious, and a responsible citizen.

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God forbid anyone should love their country and voice it out loud these days.  We wouldn’t want to piss off the media elite who decide what we should be watching and how to think. How can the Mainstream Media possibly maintain control of the masses and continue to dictate our politics, morals, and outlook on life when we’d rather watch Joe Friday or the Lone Ranger  doing the right thing no matter what. I think our kids would certainly benefit from a stream of positive role models, don’t you?

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I find myself drawn to those simpler and more honest shows even though they aren’t up to speed with all of the politically correct crap we’re being fed these days. Maybe it’s time for the people of this country to once again hear some positive messages instead of the constant in-your-face drumbeat of commercials, reality shows, and just plain crap that’s filling the airways.

Find that cable channel that’s decided to step back and regain some simple and positive programming and support them. When their ratings begin to climb the advertising money will soon follow. More money begets more of the same type of programming and all of us and our kids are the winners.

06-17-2015 Journal – Rural Murder Inc.   Leave a comment

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I’m not normally a person captivated by breaking news events nor do I feel the need to be the first person to spread the word about certain occurrences but today is an exception. So here goes. . .

I received a tidbit of news this morning from an anonymous source that my previously mentioned garden marauder, aka "The Skunk", may have been fatally injured during the night.  I’m aware that my earlier threats against his life could possibly make me a person of interest in his disappearance and possible death.

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I’ll probably spend the day waiting around for the inevitable arrival of the animal homicide investigators. I also heard there’s been a rash of similar deaths in the last few weeks and no real leads or clues have been discovered.  It’s only a matter of time until they pick up the rumor of my blog and those rather inappropriate death threats.

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At 3 am my source just happened to be nearby when the "The Skunk" was observed slowly slinking through my yard towards my garden.  It just so happened that just as he was nearing the garden he was accosted by a couple of strangers. Within seconds loud and shrill screaming was heard by neighbors sounding much like someone being assaulted and badly injured. The screaming continued even louder but seemed to be slowly moving towards a nearby wooded area where it suddenly stopped.  All was quiet in the neighborhood for the rest of the night.

After listening to that report and being the experienced criminal investigator I am, the next morning I hurried to the alleged crime scene.  While I found no traces of blood or indications of a tussle I continued collecting what few facts that were available.

  • Fact #1 – I actually heard the screams outside my bedroom window that night but saw nothing suspicious.
  • Fact #2 – I found no evidence at the scene of violence being perpetrated.
  • Fact #3 – My garden was untouched for the first time in weeks.
  • Fact #4 – I personally saw no suspicious characters in the neighborhood that night nor did I hear anything that would help me identify the unknown subject or subjects (the UNSUBS).

The next day I was approached by two investigators who required me to supply them with an alibi for the time in question. Since they could find no forensic evidence at the scene they began the process of building a circumstantial case with me as their chief suspect. While my better-half was asleep beside me that night she was unable to verify my presence or supply me with an believable alibi.

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‘Suspect #1’

Later that same day I heard a rumor that I immediately conveyed to the investigators concerning two suspicious and dangerous looking characters seen in the area. They’d been spotted with the victim near the scene of the alleged crime on the night in question by an anonymous source,who I refused to identify.  They were very upset with me but I do have the constitution right to protect my sources.

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“Suspect #2’

A little later in the day an APB was sent out to all nearby neighborhoods with a BOLO on these two suspects.  They were described briefly as being similar in stature, approximately 24 inches tall, wearing shaggy overcoats, and with a mean and hungry look in their eyes.  Other information received indicated they were members of a notorious local gang called "The Coyotes".  Many suspicious deaths have occurred in the past in this area that were attributed to this gang  but no arrests have never been made.

Hopefully this will get these pesky investigators off my butt. They’re now requesting all of my guns for ballistic testing on the side chance the victim’s body will eventually be located.  I immediately checked with my attorney and we refused to give up my weapons. They left in a huff but there is no doubt in my mind that this matter wasn’t going to be dropped anytime soon.

Trust me, they’ll never find the body.

06-15-2015 Journal – Death to All Skunks!   Leave a comment

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I’m still in bed this morning because it’s raining, I’m all warm and cozy, and I don’t wanna get up. The Spring season is slowly moving towards Summer and most of my ridiculous yard and garden related chores have been completed. Except for one.

I have to say that I’m still a bit irritated that I haven’t been able to put an end to my night marauder who is haunting my garden.  For some reason for the first time in years I have an effing skunk who has been undoing most of my good works in the garden almost every night. This fat bastard has been patrolling our property for some years without ever bothering the garden.  He apparently discovered an abundant supply of worms and/or grubs in the soil and has been digging for them furiously. The fact that he has killed many of my plants in the process is the source of my current anger.

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‘This isn’t him but it could be his twin brother.’

On top of it all this damn skunk is huge.  If he grows just a little more I could probably put a saddle on him and take a ride. He also has a habit of spraying anything and everything in his immediate area if bothered.  A year of so ago the neighbor’s cat had a midnight run-in with him which resulted in our backyard reeking of skunk for many days.  I really don’t want that happening again.

My secret plan was to sit on my deck with a pistol in my lap and hopefully put a stop to all of the night time nonsense.  I sat quietly the first night until 3 am reading my Kindle and maintaining a close surveillance of the garden.  It was a quiet night with no activity.  Then it began to rain which immediately chased me off to bed. I slept the sleep of angels knowing that the garden was safe for the night. What a moron I am.  I awoke in the morning and walked out to the garden and the place was a mess.  He’d been busy digging up tomatoes, cucumbers, and a number of pepper plants  and did it all in a driving rainstorm.  To say I was not happy would be a huge understatement.

I spent the next night on the deck armed, dangerous, and pissed off.  I never heard or saw a thing and the next morning more plants had been destroyed. That SOB is making me a little crazy.  I’ve since replanted all of the damaged plants and I’ll continue to monitor things as best I can and rid myself of this pest.

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I have a bad history withy skunks and as a young guy was known to hunt them. My father paid me and a friend a bounty for each one eliminated from damaging his garden.  The smell of skunk still makes me a little queasy since I was sprayed one hot summer evening in 1962. I was on my knees looking under a shed for an escaping skunk and BAM, he was right there and sprayed me across the side of my head.  Be warned, that is not something you ever want to experience.  I was forced to shave my head by my mother and wash it thoroughly numerous times with tomato juice.  Nothing really worked very well and for more than a month every time my head got wet or sweaty you could smell skunk.  A lost a few friends that summer.

With any luck at all before summer’s end I’ll soon be posting a photo of his corpse.  He’s mocked me long enough and now it’s personal.

My Rule #6 – Don’t screw with my garden, or else.

06-12-2015 Sexual Factoids!   Leave a comment

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A week or so ago I posted a list of rather disgusting and disturbing facts about food and the hundreds of possible bacterial issues they provide.  Never let it be said that I don’t pass along a continuous stream of useless information to my audience.

With that thought in mind I decided today I’d post a list of somewhat interesting facts about everyone’s favorite subject. . . . Sex!  I’m also reasonably sure that none of these facts will initiate any sort of sexual arousal in anyone..  Read on and learn a few things you really don’t want or need to know.

  • In an international survey, 14 percent of people admit to having slept with a friend’s lover behind his/her back.
  • Some women are allergic to their male partners semen, a condition known as human seminal plasma hypersensitivity.
  • One study reports that autoerotic asphyxia, or cutting off oxygen to the brain to achieve greater sexual satisfaction, claims the lives of 500-1000 men each year.
  • Keeping a condom in your wallet is a bad idea. The constant friction and temperature changes can cause microscopic tears allowing sperm to get through.
  • According to one researcher, women have a higher likelihood than men to settle for a mediocre sex life and unmet emotional needs.
  • The average U.S. male’s sperm count has declined thirty percent in the last three decades.
  • The average size of an erect penis is five inches, while the average flaccid penis is three and a half inches.
  • The sale of sex toys and vibrators is banned in Alabama and Mississippi.
  • Wearing too much makeup can mask the scent that attracts men to women during ovulation. An experiment found that a women’s armpit scent was at it’s most attractive to men between the end of her cycle and ovulation, but that this smell is easily obscured by cosmetics.

And here’s my favorite interesting sex fact:

  • On any given day approximately 400 million people across the globe will have sexual intercourse, which means 4,000 people are having sex right now.

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So much for your sex education class.  I hope I’ve filled your heads with lots of annoying goodies you can think about while enjoying your next sexual interlude.

06-11-2015 Journal–Garden Update!   Leave a comment

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I thought I’d take a little time today to give you a general update of the garden. I realize that it’s still early in the season but with the warm weather finally arriving the plants have really begun to grow.  As usual there have been a few fatalities in the garden. Two jalapenos dried up and fell over and three of the cucumber plants followed suit.  The peppers had their stems cut which confused me for a time.  I thought it might have been deer but a nearby nurseryman  advised of a rash of cut worm complaints in recent weeks. They love chewing through the stems of healthy plants.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for them and squish as many as I possibly can.

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The cucumbers were ones I purchased from Lowes  and I’ve come to find out that most plants purchased from local nurseries seem to thrive much more than those purchased from these big box stores.  I  think it all comes down to how the plants are handled.  Unfortunately at any big box store, they hire a bunch of high school or college students at minimum wage and set them loose on the plants.  Too much watering is just as damaging as too little and those kids are clueless.

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With the new plants in hand I replaced the dead ones last night.  I spent some time chopping down the seed stalks of my rhubarb plants too.  This should help them fill out a little more and give me a better harvest when it comes time to make jam. I was surprised to find a number of rhubarb seedlings in one of the other frames. The seeds must have blown there last year and took root this spring.  I replanted them nearer the rhubarb patch will I’m going to be forced to enlarge next season.

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‘There always seems to be one on these guys hanging around.’

I finally began caging the tomato plants when I found the first bloom on one plant.  I was going to wait until later in the month but the plants are growing so quickly they’ll need the support from the cages to keep the fruit off the ground.

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As you can see by the photos the entire garden including the herbs are looking good.  If this keeps up for another couple of months we will have a ton of product to deal with  this Fall.  I have a feeling we’ll be canning a lot more than we did last year with a much larger variety as well.