Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mandating Political Correctness

One must consider context with bumper stickers. One sticker is a hint. A cluster offers a clearer indication of what the vehicle’s owner thinks. “Question Authority” is often found next to “Obama/Biden,” and “Love Your Mother” with an earth for the O, and “COEXIST” with the Islamic crescent for the C, a peace sign for the O,  and so forth. The vehicle is usually a Volvo or Prius owned by a greenie Democrat careful to be politically correct in everything said.

Political correctness is largely self-imposed and I don’t do it. Regular readers know this. Most Americans self-censor though, and that has implications for me in casual conversation with family, friends, and acquaintances. I don’t go out of my way to make others uncomfortable by stating my opinions, and lately I prefer to remain silent until asked for input. I get forum enough publishing a weekly column in this space.
I’m seeing a fearful trend lately, however, and I do mean fearful. Political correctness is being imposed. Just this month Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman I greatly admire, was offered and honorary degree at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Then the offer was withdrawn after pressure from a terrorist-funding organization called CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations.
CAIR was named an un-indicted coconspirator in the Holy Land terrorist funding trial. While it poses as a civil rights organization, its clandestine purpose is to funnel money and support to radical Muslim groups like Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and killing of every Jew there, among other horrific things. Islam also tacitly accepts genital mutilation of girls, and this was done to Hirsi Ali in Somalia when she was very young. 
Islam tacitly accepts forced marriage too, as Hirsi Ali’s father tried with her. She was supposed to marry an older, male relative in Canada, but she got off in Amsterdam where she was to board a connecting flight and was granted asylum. She was eventually elected to Dutch Parliament and produced a movie called “Submission” with Theo Van Gogh, grandnephew of the famous painter. The film depicted Muslim male violence against women, something about which Hirsi Ali had first-hand knowledge. For making Submission, Van Gogh was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam by a Muslim terrorist. A note was pinned to his body with a dagger promising Hirsi Ali would be next. Ever since, she’s had armed guards around her 24-7.
Hirsi Ali doesn’t support coexistence with Islam because if its treatment of women, and out of fear of being labeled “Islamophobic” by CAIR, Brandeis disinvited her. “Islamophobic” means “irrational fear of Islam,” but Hirsi Ali’s fear is anything but irrational given Islam’s fatwa against her. A Jewish university like Brandeis would be irrational for not fearing an organization like CAIR that raises funds for Hamas, which pledges to kill Jews and Christians “to the last one.” So why did Brandeis cave? Was it fear of CAIR, or fear of being seen as politically incorrect by the rest of academia? Looks like both to this writer.
The same week, Brendan Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla, makers of web browser Firefox and a company he co-founded. He had given a $1000 donation to Proposition 8, passed by the voters of California defining marriage as between one man and one woman. That’s politically incorrect. He was told to make an unequivocal statement in support of homosexual “marriage” or be fired immediately.
Brendan Eich
Another fearful example last week was revealed in an article by former DOJ official J. Christian Adams: “Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet.”
Being a Roman Catholic American is also politically incorrect. To follow the Magisterium, or teachings of the Church, is to believe abortion kills a human being and homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” That puts us on a collision course with the progressive Thought Police. As the former president of the American Conference of Catholic Bishops, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, said in 2010: “I’ll die in my bed. My successor will die in prison. His successor will die a martyr. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” Two years later, Cardinal George said he was being “overly dramatic.” Let’s hope he was, but I can't help wondering what he would say in 2014.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Corrupt Democrat Machine Calls Voter ID "Racist"

“Vote early and often for Curley,” was a lyric from one of Democrat Mayor, Congressman, and Governor James Michael Curley's campaign songs I heard often while growing up a Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrat in the 1950s. Democrat voter fraud was not only winked at, it was celebrated from the early 20th century onward. Sticking it to Yankee Republicans was a way of life when you grew up Irish in Massachusetts. Oppressed in the 19th century, the Irish ruled Boston and the state during the 20th and the spoils system became a way of life. By the time I was growing up, it was who you knew or who you were related to, and there was nothing wrong with that in the Boston-Irish-Democrat code of ethics. It’s the way things were done, and it swept the Kennedy dynasty into power during its heyday.
My father is standing with his jacket open. To his left is JFK. Bottom left is US House Speaker John McCormack at early organizational meeting for SEIU

Kennedys are gone from the scene now. The Democrat coalition today comprises unions, blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, feminists, single women, and aging Irish pols like Richard Daley, John Kerry, and Joe Biden. Election fraud committed by people in any of those groups is winked at and publicly denied by Democrats and the mainstream media, which look the other way. They don’t sing songs about it anymore the way Curley’s people did. They celebrate it privately now.
Into a similar, but Texan Democrat political arena waded small business person and political neophyte Catherine Englebrecht. Starting in their garage, she and her husband Bryan had built a small manufacturing business outside of Houston which, after two decades employed thirty people. Then she started volunteering at the polls where, according to national review.com, she became “appalled and dismayed to witness everything from administrative snafus to outright voter fraud.” She started attending local Tea Party meetings, eventually founding “True the Vote,” an organization that aimed to clean up voter fraud. Then she filed for 501.C.3 status with the IRS.
Englebrecht Manufacturing

That put her in the sights of the national Democrat political machine. “I had no real expectation or preparation for the blood sport that American politics is,” she told Nationalreviewonline, but she found out quickly. In twenty years of doing business, she and her husband Bryan never had contact with the federal government, but soon federal agents were crawling all over them like maggots. Testifying before the House Committee on Investigations in February, she said:
“In 2011, my personal and business tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service, each audit going back for a number of years. In 2012, my business was subjected to inspection by OSHA, on a select occasion when neither my husband nor I were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, it still issued fines in excess of $20,000. In 2012 and again in 2013 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at my place of business. Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted my nonprofit organization on six separate occasions – wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases.”

Whew. "Not even a smidgeon of corruption"?
There are hundreds of cases like Englebrecht’s, and when the IRS scandal broke last May, President Obama called it “outrageous.” Two months later he called it a “phony scandal” and blamed Republicans for hurting the economy by focusing on it. The Obama Administration continues to stonewall investigation and its mainstream media allies continue to play down the scandal. Republicans in the House have not pressed it nearly hard enough, even though they have subpoena power with which to do so.

Allegedly Reverend Sharpton
Last week, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder both spoke at the lavish convention put on by the allegedly Reverend Al Sharpton’s “National Action Network” (NAN). Sharpton, the FBI snitch, Anti-Semite, race-hustler, and liar, was paid a quarter million in salary by the NAN, which had no problem getting its non-profit status from the IRS in spite of owing $1.9 million in payroll taxes to the IRS and State of New York for 2006, the last year for which records were available.

In his speech, Obama actually blamed Republicans for trying to "prevent people from voting". If he was talking about dead people he would have been correct, but he wasn’t. Obama is against requiring voters to present identification at the polls, which would prevent not only dead people from voting, but also others from voting “early and often” as early Democrat shyster James Michael Curley encouraged.
Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder actually dismissed charges against the New Black Panthers for wearing paramilitary garb, waving night sticks at white voters, and threatening: “You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!” One was a Democrat Party operative and credentialed poll watcher named Jerry Jackson.

That kind of poll watching was okay with Attorney General Holder, but voter identification is “racist,” as he claimed when suing the state of Texas for requiring it. James Michael Curley would be proud.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

If It Can't Go On Like This, It Won't

Republican leaders don’t like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, or Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. Both are trying to do what they promised their constituents: shrink government. In the process they’re driving Senate Minority Leader McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner crazy. McConnell and Boehner don’t really want to change Washington. They only want to talk about it. They’re both big government, career politicians who go along to get along.

The Republican Party as exemplified by its congressional leadership is not conservative The so-called Tea Party Wing of the Republican party is. Though I usually vote Republican in a lesser-of-two-evils effort, I’m a conservative first. That means I believe in small government and consider the monstrous growth of our federal government America’s biggest problem. I believe in the US Constitution because it exists primarily to limit government, though you’d never know it given what’s been happening. Our federal government has taken power from states and we need to put that process into reverse.
The Democrat Party champions two things: big government and abortion. It exists for people who look to government and not to themselves to solve every problem that comes along. It exists for people who want government to regulate every part of everyone’s life except sex. But, they want government to pay for their contraception. And if they still become pregnant, they want government to “fix” that for them by providing abortion. If they get a sexually transmitted disease, especially AIDS, they want government to “fix” that too by paying for expensive drugs to keep them alive. They want to play with whomever they want, whenever they want, and if anything goes wrong, they want government to take care of it. Meanwhile, if they don’t feel like working, they want government to provide their food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education. If they have children, they want government to take care of them too. And, Democrats want open borders, so people from other countries who want to sneak in here can have all those things too.
Let’s see. Have I left anything out? Oh yeah: all that is expensive and Democrats object if government spends so much on military defense that it cuts into providing the other stuff. When that happens, the military budget should be cut. Doesn’t matter that military defense is the only thing I’ve mentioned so far that the Constitution allows government to do. It should still be cut to pay for all the other things government does that the Constitution never intended. And, if there still isn’t enough money, then our bloated government should borrow it. If we have trouble paying back what we borrow, we should print money to keep paying for all that stuff the Founders tried to prevent.
Is that everything? No, wait: when people getting all those government handouts complain it’s still not enough, Democrats blame evil corporations, especially oil companies, especially if they’re owned by the evil Koch brothers. They tell us that government would give out even more stuff if only those evil corporations and the evil Koch brothers weren't hoarding so much money for themselves.

Democrats, especially our president, are trying their best to take money away from all those evil rich people and spread it around, because they know who deserves it and who doesn’t. They know how much people should have. They could give away more stuff if it weren’t for people like Ted Cruz, Trey Gowdy, and those other Tea Party Republicans. Democrats hate them as much as they hate the Koch brothers. Republican leadership hates them too.

We Americans have to have to have our taxes paid next week, the half of us who actually pay federal income taxes, that is. We’ll give over $3 trillion to the feds and $1.5 trillion to the states. That’s more than we spend on food, clothing, and shelter, and it still won’t cover what our bloated government actually spends. It doesn’t cover what we borrow, and it doesn’t cover what we print either. Even if we took 100% of income over a million dollars from those evil rich people, we could only fund government for a few months. Obviously this cannot go on forever. And what happens to things that cannot go on forever? They don’t.
So how is it going to stop? One of two ways: either we shift into reverse and shrink the federal government or it all collapses. Democrats pretend it can go on forever. Republican leadership says we have to do something, but when it comes to actually doing it, they give in to Democrats and on it goes. Only Tea Party Republicans actually want to stop it before it’s too late. All the rest call them extremists.

Will any of this change after the November elections? We’ll see.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Objective Truth

“What do you know for sure?” the old man would always ask me after letting me in and giving me a cup of coffee.

“Not much,” I’d answer.

“Neither do I.”

I was a twenty-year-old field supervisor for a private security company and Ernie was a guard. We worked the third shift and had many late night conversations. Ernie was in his sixties and spoke with a Tennessee drawl. He had been raised down south but left home early and wandered around early 20th century America. He always carving something between rounds and he’d push out little chips of pine while telling me stories. He’d worked with stone for a while helping Gutzon Borglum carve Mount Rushmore but pine was easier, he said. He went to Europe afterward and fought in the Spanish Civil War. Not knowing much then about what that war was about, I didn’t even think to ask what side he took, but I suspect now he fought with the Republicans. That was the side of anarchists, socialists, and communists.

Ernie was a young man then. As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said: “If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart. If you're not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.” That old man had a brain when I knew him.

During WWII he served as a crew member on an American bomber that was shot down over the North Sea. Rescued by Germans, he was a POW until the end of the war. Ernie was ethnic German and spoke the language and his captors treated him fairly well, but they did a lot of tests on him because they wanted to learn how he survived in frigid water longer than their own airmen were able to. Later, he took home a German war bride.
At the time, I was moving leftward in my own politics while Nixon was finishing his first term. Ernie was patient with me and listened to my utopian ideas about how the how the world should be run. He would ask questions, which now I realize were efforts to help me examine my ideas more deeply. He’d say sometimes that the more he learned, the less he knew and that’s why he asked so many questions. His was an interesting history and it left him with at least two things I found attractive: a sense of humor, and humility.
Of all the history I’ve learned, there’s not a lot I can be sure of because it’s written by human beings. Primary sources like Ernie are best, but imperfect. Things we see with our own eyes can be subjectively interpreted based on our preconceived ideas about how the world works. While I do believe objective truth exists, we humans never perceive it flawlessly. We should strive to, but be constantly aware that we always fall short.

Still, it’s helpful to read as many imperfect history books as we can. Biography is good because it’s one human writing about another, which produces a more objective account than autobiography. Others see our qualities and faults more realistically than we do.
Last week President Obama met with Pope Francis in Rome. I’m not sure who else was in the room while they talked, but at least two vastly different versions emerged about what they discussed. The Vatican issued a statement saying they focused “on questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in [the United States] such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life, and conscientious objection,” a clear reference to the schism between the US Catholics and the Obamacare mandate that employers provide abortion-inducing drugs and contraception. A lawsuit against the Obama Administration being argued before the US Supreme Court as the two men met.

When asked at a press conference after their meeting, however, President Obama said: “We didn’t actually talk a whole lot about social schisms in my conversations with His Holiness,” and Francis “actually did not touch in detail” on the mandate.

Interpretations of historical events by third parties are even more subjective. One of those accounts has much more credibility to me than the other, for example. Let’s just say I tend to agree with the Tweeter who described it as a meeting between “the pope and the dope.”

How will history record their meeting? Several historians will write it up, and each account will vary according to the individual historian’s imperfect understanding of how the world works.

What is the truth about what happened in that room? Only God knows for sure.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Secret Anti-Global-Warming Machine

Hey! All you progressive Democrats out there? Whatever you’ve been doing to prevent global warming? Cut it out! Now! Hear me? It’s spring for cripe sakes. It’s supposed to be warming up - even around here in the Maine mountains - and it’s not. There’s more than two feet of snow on the ground out there and more coming! And it doesn’t melt right away like it’s supposed to this time of year either. All the skiers and snowmobilers are ready too, but it just keeps building up. People are getting tired of this, and I’m blaming you.

I’ve been looking back at the last five years since you took over down and I’m starting to catch on. You started off raising and spending all that “stimulus” money - a trillion dollars almost - and I can’t see any economic stimulus going on at all! Where is it? Joe Biden kept telling us four years ago us that “Recovery Summer” was on its way. Well it never came! We’re all still waiting out here. Now we’re thinking summer itself isn’t coming this year either, much any less economic recovery! Spring hasn’t shown up and we’re thinking summer won’t either.
You said there were thousands of shovel ready jobs out there, and you were going to use that trillion dollars to build infrastructure like they did back in the Great Depression. Well where is it? You guys said Herbert Hoover was an idiot and you blamed him for the Great Depression, but at least he built the Hoover Dam! It’s still there - still generating electricity - and it only took five years to finish. It’s been that long since you raised and spent that trillion dollars, so what have you got to show for it? Nothing! Where did all the money go? We could have built lots of Hoover Dams.
And how about the Golden Gate Bridge? That was built with stimulus money during the Great Depression and it’s still there too. It cost $35 million, and that would be over $500 million in today’s money. We could have built over fifteen hundred Golden Gate Bridges with the money you guys spent on this “stimulus,” but we don’t see any bridges. We don’t see anything!
You promised lots of green jobs too. Where are they? You spent billions on solar energy development, and windmill development, and battery development. How many of the companies you invested in are bankrupt? How come the cost of electricity keeps going up? Where did all that money go?
Like I said, I’ve been thinking about all this and my theory is that you didn’t spend the money on economic stimulus at all. You didn’t spend it on renewable energy either because those companies are gone - poof! It’s looking to me like all that was a big smokescreen. I’m thinking you spent it all on some secret project to prevent global warming that you’re not telling us about, and it’s all gotten out of control! That’s why it’s so friggin’ cold!
Anti-Global-Warming Machine prototype?

You really wanted to do it with your “Cap and Trade” bill, but it couldn’t pass the Senate. You wanted to take over the energy industry like you took over the health care industry with Obamacare. So, what did you do instead? You took the trillion dollars for stimulus and you spent it all on a secret Anti-Global-Warming Machine and it’s bringing on another ice age! I’ll bet it’s got a giant super-computer that has outsmarted its programmers. You had all your best computer geeks working on that instead of the Obamacare web site - and that’s why it’s so screwed up. You put all the geek wannabes to work on Obamacare and they were all morons!
Then you used the National Security Agency to spy on all our phone calls, all our emails, all our internet searches - so you could keep it all secret! The NSA didn’t see the Benghazi  Attack coming, did it? That took you all by surprise, and you made up a story about some stupid internet video nobody ever saw, and you kept that story up for weeks! And the NSA obviously wasn’t keeping an eye on Syria, was it! Obama said Assad was going to fall “any day now” and he’s still in there! Hillary Clinton said she “reset” our relations with Russia, but you didn’t see the Crimea invasion coming, did you? No! Because the NSA was so busy keeping the Giant Anti-Global Warming Machine secret, they didn’t have time to spy on our enemies like they’re supposed to. They’re spying on us instead.
And last week you said you were pulling an all-nighter to discuss global warming. Hah! This time I believe you! You were trying to figure out how to get a handle on that machine, because if you don’t, it’s going to be like this right through ’til next winter!

It all fits when you think about it.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Changing Perspectives

My primary care physician is my age. If I keep breathing, my next one will be much younger. How do I feel about that? Ambivalent. Younger docs are more likely to be up on newer methods, but older ones are likely to be wiser - I hope. Once a year I bring my body in and he looks it over, offering advice about how to prolong my time on earth. I’ve taken his advice so far and already I’ve lived longer than my father or paternal grandfather, so that’s good.
Old oak tree in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

My primary residence is younger than me - under thirty. Structurally it’s in good shape, but I’ve already replaced the appliances we bought when we built it, and my wife is always doing cosmetic makeovers. It’s tight - no drafts - and I like that, especially as my body ages. Maintaining is a whole lot easier than building, and I’ve hired someone to paint it the last two times. My wife talks downsizing, but the thought of starting over and building something smaller makes me tired.
It’s the second new house I’ve lived in. My father moved us into a new one when I was four. New houses are nice. Once they’re finished, you can leave them alone for years and just live. But old houses require constant maintenance, just like old bodies. Up to age twenty-five or so, I didn’t exercise, ate whatever I wanted as much as I wanted, and stayed in shape. After that, I had to restrict my eating and I had to exercise, which I don’t like. Now I have to exercise even more and I’ve grown to hate it. The only thing I like is when it’s over and I don’t have to punish myself anymore for the rest of the day. I never feel "runner’s high" or any other endorphin thing I hear people rave about. I just feel fewer aches and pains than if I were sedentary. That’s the only reason I continue.
Our other house is older than me, built in 1910 or so. It was a kit house ordered from Sears and assembled on site. A couple of young architects live across the street in a similar house and they told me. After I looked it up and saw images online, I’m seeing hundreds of them around the Portland area. Nowadays, people can order houses from various companies, but they’re partially assembled in a factory. Walls and rooves are delivered to the site and assembled using a crane. Pretty slick.

The older house still needs work but it’s mostly cosmetic now. Meanwhile it’s comfortable to live in and there’s no hurry. That hurry-up thing I’ve had to do most of my life, juggling two or three jobs with family responsibilities. Now I avoid hurry whenever possible. Anything involving hurry-up I try to stay away from. I’ve got to repair the front porch on the older house, and I will when I get around to it. Got to put in a half-bath downstairs there, and I will when I feel like it. Gotta finish the book too and it’s taking longer than I thought, but that’s all right.

Some of my contemporaries are having work done on their bodies. A hip here, a shoulder there, and some knees. Good for them if they want to stay functional and avoid unnecessary pain. I suspect some are “having work done” of the plastic surgery kind too, but they don’t talk about it, and I don’t want to know either. Most women dye their hair trying to look younger but I admire the ones who don’t. If they let it go natural and keep themselves in shape, they look better in my eyes. There’s a certain dignity about being who you are that shines through. It’s attractive. Men who dye their hair? I try to stay away from them.
The older kit house

An elderly woman whose old summer mansion I took care of taught me - not expressly, but in the way she looked at things. I was thirty-something. She was eighty-something. Soil had built up over the lower course of shingles on one side and they were rotten. When I showed her she asked what a repair would involve. They’d been that way a while and I said we couldn’t know until we pulled them off to see what was rotted behind them. She asked if the house would collapse, and I said probably not for a while.
The old mansion boarded up for winter

She decided to leave it be, which bothered me until I figured out that she wanted to enjoy however many more summers she had left in the place without the ripping and tearing it would take to fix it.

Perspectives change when you’ve been around longer than the usually-allotted three score and ten years.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Musings

Once a year The Wizard of Oz would come on television and just about every kid in the neighborhood tuned in. They’d seen it many times before, but they’d want to watch their younger brothers and sisters see it for the first time. That was back when there were only three broadcast networks - also when most families had more than one or two kids. That was during the fifties and sixties and it was somewhat true for my children growing up in the seventies and eighties. I enjoyed watching my children watch Dorothy, the Wicked Witch, and the Emerald City.
That world is mostly gone now. People have more choices on TV - too many, some claim, and  they have few, if any, children. They tend not to watch the same thing at the same time so we have fewer simultaneously-shared cultural experiences. There are episodic dramas that many watch, like “Breaking Bad” and “Downton Abbey,” and they can be discussed at dinner parties and extended-family get-togethers. When someone mentioned “Breaking Bad” and I didn’t know what he was talking about, I realized I was out of the loop - culturally illiterate. I’ve since watched about twenty-five episodes, but my wife isn’t into it so I don’t know if I’ll finish. It depresses me because it’s plausible and the characters are realistic. It’s a vision of what part of America is becoming. I see it around me and don’t need to watch it dramatized as well.
My grandchildren are back at our Lovell house until probably late spring sometime. Been a hard winter for their father, Andrew, to be building a house in Sweden, Maine but my son-in-law has been plugging away with help from family and good friends. Meanwhile, my daughter, Annie, found a VHS copy of Wizard Of Oz and put it on to play for my granddaughters, Claire - now four, and Lila - now three. It was fun to watch as still another generation got caught up in that classic movie.
Three-year-old Lila - always feisty and outspoken - told us she was scared by the Wicked Witch and the flying monkeys, so she went into the toy box for a helmet and sword. She planned to defend herself in case the witch came out of the TV. I like that about Lila; she’s ready to do battle if she has to. She’s not the run-away type, preferring to stand and fight. I had to beg her not to slash my flat-screen.
Lila and the Wicked Witch

It’s charming to have my beautiful grandchildren around, but it’s hard to write. My wife took a break from it all to cruise the Lesser Antilles with a group of women. She got back last week - tanned, rested, and ready. While she was away I spent several days alone in the South Portland house and realized how rare it is for me to be alone anywhere. I’ve gotten to know the neighbors, but they’re busy and keep to themselves, which I like. I enjoyed the solitude. I’d write for a few hours, then go for a run at Bug Light Park. I went to the Irish Heritage Center for a program on the 150th anniversary of the wreck of the “Bohemian” which drowned dozens of Irish immigrants off what is now Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth. I visit each time I’m down there to watch and listen as waves break on the rocks. Also, I watched my six-year-old grandson Alex play for his basketball team in Portland and took in a Red Claws game with him and another grandson, Riley, age thirteen. It was a guys night out.
Alex talking to teammate

Going back and forth over the Casco Bay Bridge so much, I’ve watched the progress of the 24-7 dredging operation in the Fore River. The Portland Press Herald ran an interesting article about it: Every minute or so a huge bucket of sediment is lifted off the bottom and dumped into a barge. A tug pulls it out to sea seven miles where it drops the sediment deep. Can’t help but wonder what else might be in that material. Casco Bay and its many islands show evidence of early American activity going back millennia. The paleo era - just after the most recent glaciers retreated 10-12 thousand years ago - interests me most. I’ve only found one artifact in the area so far, but it’s not nearly that old. Back then, the ocean was sixty feet lower than it is now and that old shoreline is down deep today, deeper even than the dredge is working. It’s job is to restore a channel thirty-five feet deep at low tide.
Dredging Fore River 2014

The older I get, the more I tend to see everything in an historical context. Can’t help it.

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