Category Archives: Trail Mixers Say

Bear Baiting in Maine

Nash 2.5

What’s the #1 Election Issue in Maine? Bear Baiting.

Here’s how it works.   Out-of-shape middle-aged guys from Boston and New York City are willing to spend a couple of grand a piece to come up to Maine to “hunt” a bear.  That’s big bucks to the locals.

The city guys don’t actually do any real hunting, of course. Black Bears in the wild are very alert and very clever, so they are difficult to hunt, unlike deer and moose which are really dumb.

bearbaitingSo … an entire industry has been developed by “Certified Maine Guides” to accommodate the bear-killing needs of these affluent customers. “Bait” (day-old donuts are popular) is placed in locations near guest lodges, and the guests, dressed in color-coordinated LL Bean hunting clothes, are driven, in rugged-looking extended cab pick-up trucks, to a spot where they can  conveniently shoot at the bears, without too much exertion.   (Many of the guides carry cardiac defibrillators in their trucks, just in case.)

All of this was fine for decades until a bunch of “whining out-of-state environmentalist nuts and animal lovers” got a voter referendum placed on the November ballot, to ban the practice of Bear Baiting. (Actually it was native Mainers who did it, with a little bit of financial help from national organizations, but that’s not what the talk radio audience wants to hear.)

In addition to regular political ads (i.e., for governor), Mainers have been bombarded by “pro” and “anti” Bear Baiting ads for months.

Here is a short video on the politics of Bear Baiting, explaining why having this issue on the ballot may help the Republican candidate for governor (LePage) and hurt the Democrat (Michaud). Michaud is ahead in the polls, at the moment.

What’s On Your Ballot?

— Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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Use It or Lose It

As a nation, our voting muscles are withering away from lack of use and the muscle-bound money bullies are kicking sand in our face.

It’s not just disenchanted baby boomers, according to a Harvard University Institute of Politics study “less than one in four (23%) of Americans under the age of 30 say that they will ‘definitely be voting.'”

We arsande voting booth wimps when compared to other democracies. For instance: “The United States’ 2012 elections was marked by a low voter turnout with 57.5% of voters going to the polls. Compare that to India and Malaysia where more than 80% of eligible voters cast their ballots in 2013.”

How do we build back that voter muscle? Is there a dynamic tension solution like the one Charles Atlas promised comic book readers?

The Politics of Ebola

Nash 2.5
Fear: it’s really all the GOP has these days.

Fear of terrorists, fear of immigrants, fear of socialism, and now fear of the Ebola virus.

Millions of Americans have become cowards, shivering under their beds, clutching their assault rifles, which are not much use against disease, by the way. (They would be better off if they just washed their hands after using the bathroom.)

Forget about rational discussions about why the (profit-driven) U.S. healthcare system is simultaneously becoming more expensive and declining in quality. (Profits?)

fearLet us instead devote 24/7 mainstream media coverage to shallow analysis about “how we can protect ourselves from the threat of Ebola.”

Over at Fox News the message is clear: somehow this is all Obama’s fault.

If the GOP gains control of the Senate in November, it may be because of a tiny virus you need an electron microscope to see.

Here is the trailer for “Outbreak” (1995), about an Ebola-like disease epidemic.   They should run this film 24/7 on cable TV for a few days, and then we can all talk about Ebola more intelligently.

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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New World – Not Ordered

Blue Bronc

Does everybody remember my little post regarding me having email accounts hacked? Well, let me say that was not all.  The other day the great state of Maryland let me know that they say I did not have insurance on my car; that such lack of insurance was $150 plus $7 per day while I was lapsed.  Oh, that is due to a bounced check says my insurance company.  Moi,  oh I did not know that was the problem, I did not know this was happening.

Today’s post brought a letter from the loan provider of my truck, rather rude and abrupt but as pleasant as a threat letter can be, that I had no insurance on my truck and that I need to provide proof or “they would provide the insurance,”  A call to my insurance provider, “. . .not in the office, your call is forwarded to. . .”  After that rather informative discussion, it turns out that I in fact did not have insurance.  Something about my credit card not active when charged.

It turns out all this occurred at the time my accounts were under attack and my accounts with accompanying credit cards and check cards were being changed. Those changed due to being under attack.  And, for hilarity, I will have new accounts in the coming week due to being under attack by bad people who have information from companies I do business with having the accounts breached.

I will be talking to several companies and government agencies this coming week.

This most difficult part of this is when I relied on companies to let me know in person something was wrong. I did not expect the companies to only send out “automatic letters” and let the onus of problems fall on me.  My previous experiences with these companies had been on personal reach out, but then those were in different states.

Lessons learned, change companies when those you hire to do your business do not give you a personal touch and support you when things go wrong. Especially in this new era where companies are hacked and your personal information is sold to high buyer.

Okay. So let us review:  change passwords; use 12 or more characters; use upper and lower case, numerals and special characters (password generators help); change companies if you are not supported; talk to all agencies you can to explain your plight; hire an attorney if necessary.

Now you will be asking yourself “What the bloody hell does this have to do with me?”  Your accounts can come under attack because you shopped at a retail store, such as Target or Home Depot.  We are in a new world.  Will our politicians do anything?  A rather more on topic question is “can they do anything?”

Simplistically, some say use cash.  Sorry, it is not always usable online.  Write checks, they cry.  Sorry, checks not accepted.  Use your credit card online.  Sure ‘nuf.  screwed on that one.

Politicians will not save you.  They pass laws for reasonable people.  Those who attack your checking accounts or credit cards do not care about laws.

– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor

Obama Runs Away to War

Nash 2.5
With all the crisis-level problems at home (immigration, infrastructure, education, offshoring of manufacturing, global warming, AND the steady and systematic decline of the middle class) Obama has chosen to run away to the one place he can act “Presidential” without having to argue with the GOP.   He’s going to bomb ISIS.

The previous estimate of the cost of the Iraq war was four TRILLION dollars, when you add the cost of long-term care to wounded veterans (which the Republicans don’t, of course). We probably need to increase that to FIVE trillion, to account for the cost of Obama’s “limited” air war against ISIS.    As any Vietnam Veteran knows, “limited wars” actually last about ten years.  (And then we lose.)

It’s much easier (and more fun) for Obama to go to war, any war, than to deal with sticky “domestic” issues. But problems in the domestic arena are actually much more important to the daily life of most Americans than a bunch of ultra-radical clowns running around the boonies in Iraq and Syria, armed with weapons that we gave to the Iraqi Army.

But in six weeks we have an election, and Obama knows Americans love a good war.

We even love bad wars.

Bruce Springsteen, “War.  What is it Good for?”

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor

Ah – Politics in The Air

Blue Bronc

Finally! Okay, so the last nine months have been boring and worthless stuffy  crappy silly.  All those “polls” showing everything important, including which space plane will win the competition, have been good for publicity, but little else.

Now we are seeing numbers.  Labor Day has come and gone.  Denver has been snowed on.  The kiddies are back in jail school and we can focus on real stuff, like the newest Bento Box delight for lunch.  I joke there.  We can focus on politics.

votedEach year  we hear that this poll has this finding for this candidate and how horrible it is for the party; and that poll has this bad finding for the other candidate and how terrible it is for the party.  That is up until after Labor Day, the day after which people start to pay attention to politics.  This year is no different than last year or the year Julius Caesar was born.  The “normal” people, those unlike us, do not poll well until after the day celebrating getting weekends off is over.

Do you watch and enjoy the Prime Minister’s Remarks on C-Span at 3am?  You are NOT normal.  The rest of America does not!  Those are the people who do not follow candidates until now.  Yes, they do have some idea of what is happening in Congress (or rather not happening) and also locally (sort of).

Right now they are getting ready to find out what the candidates are up to.  Got time to help a candidate?  The people are now ready.

– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor.

The “Inevitable” Hillary vs Joe Biden?

Nash 2/5
Most Democrats have assumed that no one with any chance of actually defeating her would challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination.  And yet many kept asking, “Is there no one else?”

The Clinton machine became concerned about the repeated political commentary that Hillary was “inevitable.” They wanted everyone in the news media to BELIEVE that she was inevitable, they just didn’t want them to SAY it, at least not too often.

Speculation grew that the campaign was quietly seeking a few “straw dogs” — Democrats who would pretend to run against Hillary — and then gracefully withdraw at the right dramatic moment, in exchange for a cabinet post.

Biden HillaryEnter Joe Biden, who recently made Obama look like a professorial wimp regarding how to deal with the terrorist organization ISIS.  Obama said we have to “manage” the ISIS problem, while Biden said we have to “follow them to the gates of Hell.”  Biden is a passionate “in your face” kind of politician blue collar males can relate to, a key population group Democrats need to win.

Biden has run before and he has spent six years “a heartbeat away” from the Presidency.

For Discussion in Comments (How to Sign Up)…

  • Will Biden run for President in 2016?
  • Is he one of the Clinton “straw dogs” or a real threat to Hillary’s inevitability?
  • Can he win the nomination?

Biden’s “Gates of Hell” Speech

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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Can We Talk?

Are we losing our collective sense of humor? We are certainly losing our iconic humorists and clowns. Just last year: Jonathan Winters, and the year before that: Phyllis Diller. This year comedy fans lost Sid Caesar, Mickey Rooney, Robin Williams — and last week, Joan Rivers.

Add to those deaths the global silencing of folks who speak truths that make us laugh, such as Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s Jon Stewart, and those who humorously caricature deities and despots at the risk of death.

In desperate times we desperately need to laugh, to expose the naked emperors, to see the silliness in our selves, and to hear from comics like George Carlin’s unvarnished absurdities.

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
— Mark Twain

– Patd is a Trail Mix Contributor.

Craig Crawford
Amen to that, Patd. On a related front, and I don’t mean to discount Joan Rivers’ pioneering role for women in comedy, but the coverage I saw often called her the first — and yet Rivers would give that nod to Phyllis Diller.

Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Diller
Rivers described Diller, her mentor, as the first female comedian who “just stood up,” adding that “she didn’t sing, she didn’t dance, she just went out and competed with the men on their turf. And did it brilliantly.”

Moms Mabley
Moms Mabley
Going back further, Moms Mabley ought to be remembered as the very first female stand-up. She started performing in the 1920’s, about 30 years before Diller.

Obama Cool vs Biden Hot?

Nash 2.5
A lot of working class democrats don’t “get” Obama.  They don’t like the icy cool “Harvard professor” act that he adopted when he calmly said he wanted to “manage” the situation with the terrorist group ISIS, which posted online videos of the beheading of Americans.US-POLITICS-OBAMA-VACATION

Joe Biden, on the other hand said, “They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice, because hell is where they will reside.”  Actually, he SHOUTED it to a crowd in New Hampshire which roared in agreement.

biden_angryThat is the kind of talk that democrats who didn’t go to college can relate to.  And they don’t mind that Biden occasionally says something dumb that he has to retract. (They’ve been doing that their whole lives.)  It’s only the D.C. media pundits who give a crap about that stuff, anyway.

Hillary now has some competition.

Music & dance number “Cool,” from “West Side Story,” which is actually quite HOT.

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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Anyone Have A Spare Icecube?

Blue Bronc

Labor Day reminds me of a cool summer day when I was stationed in Mississippi.  The temperature is a cool 85.1F.  The humidity is 80%, without breeze.  The calculations worked and we end up with a feels like temperature of 100F.  Uck.  The way I make myself feel better is to look up the location where I was stationed in Mississippi and right now it feels like 101F.  Once again, I feel better.

Is this normal weather or not?  Probably not.  This late heat and humidity is not normal for Annapolis.  It should be lower humidity and about 83F for the day.  However, this is not out of the band of “normal”.  What is sad is the legislators, in particular the House, are not here to enjoy it.  The few times they have blessed the Capitol with their presence has been during an abnormal summer caused by a pocket of cool air from the Arctic.  For a group of them this would seem to convince their anti-science brains that global warming does not exist.

Blue Bronc
Blue Bronc
But, getting back to my ice cube.  For those who have always had ice in the freezer and never thought about a cold beer on a hot day, think about our brave and adventurous ancestors sitting around the farm in the middle Atlantic colonies on September 1, 1776.   Sure they stored away ice in the ice house, but that melted a month ago and there is nothing left but sawdust.

What do we do for cold beer?  Well, the answer is dig a hole.   Several feet down in the root cellar is a fine place to get to 50ish Fahrenheit degrees.  When you are sitting around after a hard day of work and the resulting sweat, 50F beer is good.  Even better after a couple of pints.

The second answer, and one I can only reference from memory (at times I do feel that old), is that ice peddlers would bring ice down in wagons from the North where they had it stored in warehouses.  The story of Dolly Madison and her ice cream is why I remember that.  IRC she had it brought down to the White House from a warehouse in New York.

Off the Great Lakes, and Finger Lakes, along with rivers of the north, ice would be harvested like any other crop.  The ice would be stored in great warehouses covered with sawdust for insulation.  I can tell you the sawdust does not taste good.  From these warehouses, ice would be carried south for sale to those wanting a cold beer, or whatever.  This was also the time of the Little Ice Age, causing a lot of cold winters resulting in a lot of ice.

The cellars were where the cool was and that is where the beer was for most colonists.

Here is a raised, and ice cold, brew to my ancestors.  The Fosters, Shockley,  McGill,  Juntenen’s, Simo, Antonen, Taurianen, Moilanen, Shreeve, Russel, Davis, and especially the Hickmans (and whoever else in my family tree was around in 1776).

– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor.