Monday, September 28, 2009


I have been thinking about class a lot lately.

I think it all started when President Obama did not listen to some of the speeches at the G-20 meeting in New York. Most specifically, those of the leaders of the countries that the US feels antagonistic towards.

This was confusing for me, because I thought I recalled when Obama was in the presidential debates and on the stump he was saying that he would sit down and talk in person with those leaders.

Why would you leave when those leaders were going to give a speech, after they had listened to yours?


Is it beneath him? How does the US differ from other countries in class distinction?

I find it interesting in America that it doesn't matter if someone is mortgaged to the hilt, as long as they are living in a fancy house driving a flashy car wearing fine clothes and being seen at the posh places that is a measure of status.

If someone has investments and comes from old money and lives frugally they are looked at as eccentric.

If someone is poor they are looked at with disdain.

In some other countries, class is measured from bloodlines. If you are a prince dressed in rags begging on the street and it was learned you were a prince, you would still be treated as one.

It is all about appearances, it appears. How we choose to appear, and how we choose to see others. How great the world would be if we could all just see how we all enter the world-naked human babies-and even better if we could extend that vision to all life on this earth -with respect.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

autumn dawn


Friday, September 25, 2009

Foliage Series


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dancing With The Stars

I was watching the CBS news tonight and they had a bit where they showed Tom DeLay of Texas on Dancing with the Stars. Then they showed various reactions in Washington; top Republicans just stiffly smiling, several unfavorable remarks (it's like a train wreck, you just can't look away), and then I saw what makes Dennis Kucinich a beautiful man.

After viewing the performance on a monitor, Kucinich turned with a charming smile and said, "it's like Saturday Night Fever and Fred Astaire."

Beautiful soul on that man.


“Even the upper end of the river

believes in the ocean.”

William Stafford

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Health Insurance

I completely disagree with forcing Americans to pay private companies for health insurance or face a fine.

*EDIT* I then went on to add the following, which is based on if everyone has to partake-but it would include the public plan.

Make a public option and charge everyone 2,400 each annually. Add it to income. If the poorest of the poor's income plus the insurance tax is less than the minimum to pay income tax, their insurance is free. If folks want to pay for private insurance and opt out of the public plan, they can deduct the cost of their plan...up to a certain point.

Once income exceeds certain levels, public plan money must be paid in increments if private insurance is chosen over public. People over a certain income must still pay the 2,400 even if they have other insurance.

This makes it fair and affordable for everyone.

One thing's for sure-the real winners in the current health care plan are not the public or the insurance companies-it's the drug companies. Follow the money.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Current Read

Around here folks have caught on to putting stuff on the side of the road "FREE". One day I passed a free pile and stop for a look. There were a few books and some out of date clothes. I grabbed a handful of books and tossed them into the car.

I thought this one looked interesting, and upon closer look while waiting out of town the other day, I discovered it is Bayard Taylor's Works-India China and Japan, printed in 1875.

It's a fascinating read about some of his travels abroad. So far I have joined him at the Taj Mahal and the Himalayan Mountains.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Lophocampa maculata; Lepidoptera: Arctiidae

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reality vs. Fantasy

What I have
I can see and touch
imaginary thoughts
are not enough

Sometimes so much
that I question my Sanity
perhaps it is vanity.

To desire fantasy

as reality.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

O Tell Me The Truth About Love

Some say love's a little boy,
And some say it's a bird,
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that's absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn't do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It's quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I've found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn't over there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton's bracing air.
I don't know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn't in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I'm picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

W. H. Auden

Swarming like...ants

I saw this ant swarm this morning while tending our goats. As fate would have it, the swarm happened on a weekend when both kids were helping me, so we all stood in awe watching the drones fly off. Four hours later, there wasn't a sign of an ant.

That's the Willow's mud boot behind the stump (can't see her in this photo) so you get an idea how large the swarm was.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Slang, vernacular, and misunderstandings

Warren's clever comment on my last posting started me thinking about plays on words, local definitions, and misunderstandings.

When I first moved to Maine, I had some trouble understanding the local dialect. DownEast locals back then didn't pronounce their "R's" at all. So, car is, cah, storm is stohm, etc.

Hanging out one beautiful summer day with the locals, I commented on what a beautiful day it was, "Ca-ca" replied one of the guys.

I was totally confused. Having grown up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, to me, "ca-ca" is yiddish for poop. if something is "ca-ca", it was not very nice.

Asking for clarification, I found out the guy was actually saying, "cocker" which was local slang for awesome.


My kids have had the dubious distinction of growing up as "Mainahs". One of the things Mainers say if someone is upset or unhappy or angry is that they are "ugly".
We were eating fries at a fair one day, and from a distance someone we saw looked like someone famous, and we were rather rude in staring and chatting, to the point the poor fellow got up and walked by us.

Feeling like an idiot, I smiled and nodded, and my son said quite audibly, "he's ugly". Meaning, of course, that the fellow was not too happy with our obvious staring, but it must have sounded like a comment on their personal appearance. Embarassed, yeah, teach me some manners!


Recently I was chatting with a man who told me a story of buying a SAAB in Sweden. The horn didn't work, and the mechanic was trying to explain the problem to him. "You're going to put DIRT in my brand new SAAB?!?!"

No, the word for dirt in Swedish is the same as ground. The ground wire on the horn needed to be fixed...LOL.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Last weekend I took the kids on a hike through a selectively cut, recently created, nearby land trust. At one point, we were walking over a clearcut on a bunch of slash, and I warned the kids, "Keep your eyes open for snakes-this is ideal habitat for them,"

and then I stepped on the tail of this one.

It didn't seem any worse for the wear.


Earlier in the week I was driving home and saw this young ruffed grouse standing in the middle of my travel lane. I stopped the car and snapped a couple of pics, and still it stood, frozen.

I opened the car door and it flew across the road, followed by an adult I hadn't seen in the underbrush. A few other juveniles flew back into the woods.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The President's Speech

Everyday, children in public school stand before the flag and recite the pledge of allegiance.

"I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America, and to the republic, for which it stands, one Nation, under guard (formally God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

All day long children in public schools are lectured and taught by teachers and supervised by principals and superintendents.

If the principal, teachers, or their supervisors decided to hold an assembly to lecture students on expectations, rules, or pep rallies, they would not be questioned.

Yet, some parents are up in arms that our President Obama would like to address the nation's schoolchildren to encourage their studies and perseverance in school. Former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior addressed students during their presidencies. If I recall recent history accurately, George Bush Jr. was at a school in Florida preparing to talk when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

So what's up? Is it because our current president is African American? A Democrat? What's the uproar about? I haven't heard a peep from my children's school about the upcoming speech. My son doubts he will hear it.

If their school does not run the speech, I hope I can dig it up on the internet and I'll watch it with them .