>Best of Three States Plus One Saturday!

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Howdy, y’all! It’s a cloudy and a bit cool (58 degrees) in Augusta, Maine this morning and it’s a good time to grab a cup of coffee and take a look at some of the Best of Three States Plus One! I have hand-picked some of the most interesting posts of the past year form you to read again or, in some cases, see for the first time. Either way you’ll like what I have chosen for you today as the material presents a look at our great country that will have you wanting to take a trip to new and exciting locales across the Fruited Plain. I hope you enjoy your virtual vacation and make plans to see something new in America this summer.

That should keep you busy for a while. If you’d like to learn more about some great places, use the search box at the top right of the side bar to access the archives. There’s a ton of cool stuff stored there.

Have a great weekend, y’all!

>Taking a Few Days Off

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>I am taking at least a couple of days off from blogging to let my mind and body relax. I know that must come as a shock to you (that’s sarcasm, BTW). I will, however, not leave you empty-handed as far as reading material goes. I happen to know that those of you with laptops and a router find great comfort in perusing my brilliant content in the john. Fitting, that. Where do you think I do most of my writing?

Here are three posts from the very beginning of this blog that have irritated and repulsed people from all corners of the world for almost a year now. Carry on.

The posts are very short, but there are some embedded links to some really cool information, so be sure to click on them and see what’s up. The archives are full of good material, just give them a look using the search box at the top right of the right sidebar or scroll down the home page and click where it says “Older Posts” and look ’em over.

I’ll see you in a few days with more of the kind of extraordinary tomes that you’ve come to expect from me. Actually, I’ll try to do better. 🙂

Adios,
Toby

Maine Minutiae:Gov. LePage to NAACP: ‘Kiss my butt’; NAACP Cries Raaaaacist!

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 The whole country is abuzz about the latest Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, as well it should be. Governor Christie is standing up to powerful political forces such as teachers’ unions and is basically telling them to fuck off, to the delight of Conservatives, and it’s driving the Liberals crazy, again much to the delight of Conservatives.

He Ain’t Skeered

Here in Maine, we just elected a new Conservative Governor named Paul LePage. The good Gov is already pissing off the local Liberals with his actions and the guy has been in office less than two weeks! Go, Gov, go! Some Liberal women’s group, The Squawking Hens Club or something, has its collective panties in a wad because Governor LePage has yet to name a woman to commissioner’s position (I think that means a cabinet level job). There are fifteen such jobs and the first seven have been filled by men, which causes the women’s group to squawk like a bunch of old hens. Nevermind the fact that the Governor has several women on his staff as advisors. The Squawking Hens’ Club is already calling the Gov a misogynist. He told them in a polite way to kiss his ass, or go lay another egg or something like that. I like this guy! That’s not, however, the reason for this post.

Now Governor LePage is a raaaaacist (!) There are always five “a’s” in raaaaacist, by the way. He has done gone and made the NAACP mad! In less than two weeks after being sworn in, LePage has pissed off the Squawking Hens Club and the race baiters! How great is that? During a recent event in Sanford, Maine, the Governor said of the NAACP, “They are a special interest. End of story…and I’m not going to be held hostage by special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it,” said LePage. LePage has an adopted son who is from Jamaica.” LePage – 1  Liberal Colored People – 0. Governor LePage was asked a question about this matter. “When LePage was asked if his non-participation is more than one instance, and rather a pattern, he replied, “Tell ’em to kiss my butt. If they want to play the race card, come to dinner and my son will talk to them.” This guy is great! During the recent campaign, LePage said that President Obama can go to hell. This, too, tweaked the Liberals pansy feelings.

The reason the Governor would be attending the NAACP event for MLK Day on Monday? He is attending the funeral of a Maine State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty. It must be a white cop, thus the raaaaacist canard. One more thing…as a private citizen LePage has given the Welcome Address to the NAACP on four occasions, most recently in 2008. I’m with the Governor on this one. The NAACP can kiss my ass.

(hat tip to wcsh6.com)

The Blizzard of 2010 Howls On! (UPDATED – Scroll Down for UPDATES)

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When I went to bed last night, we had about four inches of snow on the ground, with more pouring down. And pour it did. Look at the difference in these two photos.

Before
After

As you can see, I took the “before” photo prior to receiving any snow. The “after” photo is what I woke up to this morning. The maintainence guys here at the complex were hard at work early this morning shoveling and using the snow blower and snowplows in order to make it as easy as possible for the residents to get in and out of their apartments and, if possible, into their cars. The wind has been blowing a steady 15 – 20 mph, with gusts in excess of 40 mph, so the snow is being blasted around at a pretty good clip and is not making a nice even cover on the ground or the cars. See the little silver car in the pics? Notice there’s about two feet of snow on the ground next to it, but hardly any on the car itself. I estimate that we have gotten at least a foot of snow and that’s fairly accurate, I’m sure. According to forecasts, it looks like we may be in for another foot or so before the snow moves out sometime tonight.

I’ll certainly keep an eye on things and pass along any updates that might add to this story. I hope those of you who live in warmer climes will get as big a kick out of my coverage of this storm as I am in sharing it with you. So, stay tuned for more later!

UPDATE 10:00 AM, EST – since posting this earlier this morning, when the the sidewalks were cleared off, we have received about 3 more inches of snow. The winds have backed off a little, but it’s still quite breezy and it’s snowing like hell. I’ll be back in a little while with more info on the Blizzard of 2010, including a new photo or two.

UPDATE 11:40 AM, EST – I miscalculated the snow fall in the previous update, I should have said we had gotten an additional six inches, not 3. Since that time we have received an aditional 3 more inches. Snow appears to be falling at a rate of two to three inches per hour. That’s a lot of snow. Some drifts of 5 feet can be found around the complex. The snow that was plowed from the parking lot is being put into mounds at seven feet tall. More accumulation is a given. Back in a while with more Blizzard News!

UPDATE 12:43 PM, EST – It’s still snowing like hell, but the end is supposedly in sight. In sight as in sometime tonight. I have seen many heavy snow storms here in Maine and in Colorado, high in the Rockies. This one will be noted not just for the prolific amount of snow it has and will continue to dump, but because the winds have been constantly gusting to 35 – 40 mph for the last 18 hours. It’s hard to measure the amount of snow that has fallen, but I am sure that at my house we have gotten close to two feet, with some drifts up to 5 or 6 feet around the property. The maintainence crew plowed the parking lot about 3 hours ago and we’ve gotten several more inches since then. It’s a wild scene. As I look out my back window while typing this update, I can barely see the building about 30 yards behind us. The wind is vicious and the snow is “falling” parallel to the the ground. 🙂 See you later with more updates on the Blizzard of 2010!

Looking out across the courtyard after plowing

UPDATE 1:35 PM, EST –  I just checked in with AccuWeather and the Blizzard Warning for Augusta has been extended to 6 PM, EST. That will make it about 24 straight hours of Blizzard or Near Blizzard conditions for the area. At my house we will probably end up with near 3 feet of snow on the ground by the time all is said and done. A few minutes ago I stepped out on the front porch and snapped a few photos to share with you.

Looking across the street from my front door

See the piles of snow behind the red truck? That is snow that was plowed from the parking lot to our building. They are at least seven feet tall.

UPDATE 2:45 PM, EST – Things haven’t changed over the last hour, except for the fact that we are one hour closer to the 6 PM, EST expiration of the Blizzard Warning. You can get a look at the local RADAR for Augusta at this link to AccuWeather. As you can see, we are located at the dead center of the storm so it is making little to no movement away from us. It’s similar to the bull’s eye on a rotating dart board. Augusta is the bull’s eye of this storm.

UPDATE 6:00 PM, EST – The Blizzard Warning that has been in effect in the form of a Watch or Warning has expired. Nothing changed over the last few hours, so I didn’t even bother to add any updates. It’s still windy and snowing like hell and it’s gonna get REAL cold tonight with the low temperature dipping to 8 degrees. Along with a stout North-Northwest wind, chill factors could approach -15 to -20 degrees.

It’s been a lot of fun Live Blogging the Blizzard of 2010 for you today and I hope you enjoyed reading about it. If anything out of the ordinary happens, I’ll post it here and on Facebook. Thanks again, y’all. Adios.

BLIZZARD WARNING FOR AUGUSTA, MAINE!!! UPDATED (Scroll down for Updates)

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Snowed In

We just got back from an overnight trip to my wife’s hometown of Eastport where we visited with her family. We had a wonderful time and made out like bandits with lots of loot, including a new fishin’ pole to me from my father-in-law.  🙂 We had plenty to eat while we were there also – chicken wings, bacon-wrapped scallops, stuffed shrimp and three kinds of pies. I am still full. It was nice to go back to Eastport because I think we will be moving there in the next few months.

We had planned to only stay last night and maybe all day today, but then this came up. This is not your basic get a foot or two of snow nor’easters, it is a full blown blizzard. Here is the technical definition of a blizzard. We are stocked up at home with plenty to eat and an ample supply of bottled water, so I think we are prepared. The only thing I am concerned about is losing power because we are at 17 degrees at 1:15 PM EST. We would definitely miss the heat if power went out. But we have each other, so it’s all good. I’ll try to live blog the blizzard as it happens. If you’d like to keep on top of it with me, keep an eye on the blog or Facebook or better yet, subscribe to the blog and updates will be emailed to you automatically. The sing up is in the right side bar.

If you’d prefer to watch things develop on Augusta RADAR, you can do so on Accuweather.com, Weather.com or Intellicast.com. Those are the three best weather websites on the internet. The info you would need to see what is happening where I live is: Augusta, Maine and the zip code is 04330. That will get you to the nitty gritty of the weather situation as it unfolds.

If I am able, I will update as I can with weather info and photos. For those of you who have never experienced a blizzard, it’s quite a sight to behold. So,check back when you can and experience what’s happening as it takes place here in Maine.

UPDATE 9:36PM, EST Since my last update about an hour ago, we have received about an inch more of snow. I am headed outside to take some more photos and will post them in a few minutes.

UPDATE: 9:52PM, EST – I took this shot while standing on my front porch. I am looking across the street at another building in our complex. If you look just to the left of dead center of the photo, you’ll see a porch light about 100 yards away. I zoomed in to get a good look at it. Let’s see if it’s visible in another hour or so.

UPDATE 10:54 PM, EST – We’ve picked up another two inches of snow in the last hour, with about another 8 or 10 inches due overnight and still more for tomorrow. This will be my last update for the night. I should have some good photos for you tomorrow. Until then, Adios.

Toby

Maine Minutiae: Christmas at The Big O

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The Big O

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that Christmas by the Sea is a popular theme in Maine during the Yuletide season. After all, the state does have thousands of miles of shoreline. Sitting on one stretch of those thousands of miles of shoreline is the town of Ogunquit, which just happens to have one of those Christmas by the Sea celebrations.

This weekend is the second weekend of the 2010 Christmas by the Sea in Ogunquit, with lots of fun stuff to do. On Friday, the Ogunquit Womans Clubwill be selling antiques and collectibles for a charity fundraiser at Ogunquit Baptist Church from 1-5 pm. Beginning at 5pm, carolers will spreading Christmas cheer at various businesses around town. You can check out their schedule right here. Following a Christmas Minstrel Concert at the Baptist Church, from 7-8pm, will be the always cool lighting of the community Christmas Tree at 8:15 at Veterans Park and at 8:30 a bonfire at Main Beach.

Saturday brings more fun stuff to do starting at 10:00am with hayrides which go on until 4:00pm. Also on Saturday morning, the Main(e) Man, Santa himself will arrive by fire engine at the Fire Station, where he will be welcoming all the boys and girls from the area, taking their Christmas orders and posing with the kids for Christmas photos provided by Ogunquit Camera Shop and passing out treats from Harbor Candy Shop! There are many more Christmas by the Sea festivities throughout the day on Saturday, ranging from more caroling to tree lighting to ornament making for the youngsters. For the full slate of events see this schedule , which incidentally run into Sunday.

The fun’s all there for the Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea celebration, all that’s missing is you!

Maine Minutiae: Christmas – It Almost Didn’t Happen in Maine

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Did you know that Christmas, as we know it, as a holiday celebrating the birth of Christ and the giving and receiving of gifts, was almost not a holiday at all in Maine and other parts of New England? I was floored when I found that out while looking for material for this post. Ironically, one of the reasons Christmas was almost doomed as a holiday in Maine, was because it was the celebration of Christ’s birth. Confused? I was too, until I read the following short essay.

Early History of Christmas in Maine/Massachusetts
The earliest historical mention of Christmas we can find was 16 years before the Mayflower landed in North America. In 1604 French settlers on St. Croix Island, off the Maine coast, held religious services and spent most of the day playing “games”.
The Puritans of New England found no biblical precedent for celebrating Christ’s birthday on December 25th, or any other day, and they felt that too much secular feasting and mirth accompanied a day that, if marked at all, should be a religious observance only. Christmas was not the only holiday dispensed with in Puritan New England. Easter, May Day and a host of other popular English celebrations were deliberately left behind as well.

But by the 1870s, more and more New Englanders, and their descendents across the country, were observing Christmas. The strict Protestantism of early New England gradually relaxed through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and so did the prohibition on Christmas celebrations. New, attractive, and largely secular aspects of the holiday, like Santa Claus, stockings hung by the chimney, and Christmas trees took hold in the popular imagination. Elsewhere in the country, Episcopalians and Catholics had observed Christmas continuously, and European immigrants from countries like Germany, that had strong Christmas traditions, had kept the holiday flourishing. New Englanders were drawn in slowly, and by the nineteenth century’s end, most Christians observed some form of the Christmas holiday, complete with a dinner menu remarkably similar to Thanksgiving’s.

So Christmas was almost 86’ed by the very people leaving England to pursue freedom of religion. Odd, that. It also struck me that Christmas wasn’t a big deal in Maine and the rest of New England until the 1870’s. Since I am Catholic, it never entered my mind that some other Christian religions would not have celebrated Christmas like we did. I am certainly glad that we all, Catholics and Protestants, eventually came together to celebrate the singular most important event in the history of mankind, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

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