Are Maine and Connecticut having a culture war?

Check out this blog post about a Portland, Maine TV station’s news broadcast

and what teleprompter-reader, Sharon Rose, had to say in her “unbiased” view of “people from Connecticut”.

The staion’s news director, Maureen O’Brien, didn’t handle it any better.


It should be legal to shoot at people driving loud motorcycles

This is mostly directed at those who choose to drive Harleys, and especially to those who modify their bikes to make them louder, Harley or not.  If these people don’t care about my health and well-being, not to mention my right to live in peace and quiet, then why should I care about theirs.  If they are intentionally going to ride a loud motorcycle, knowing full well that they are pissing people off with the noise, and truly don’t give a shit, then why can’t I take a BB Gun or a 12-Gage shotgun and take target practice.  I don’t want them to die from the gunshot any more than they want me to die from the noise.  But they don’t care if they disrupt my day, or night, so why am I not allowed to disrupt theirs.

I live in Maine.  I don’t really understand the motorcycle culture here but it’s something I never experienced until I moved here.  Recently I wrote a letter to my State Senator and State Representative because I heard that some group was trying to get a law passed to crack down on loud motorcycles.  My story, and my letter, goes as follows:

I live in Springvale, Maine in an apartment, set back from the road a bit, but in the center of town.

 As a result of excessive motorcycle noise, I literally cannot live my life in my home with my windows open.

 It’s winter now, so not much of an issue.  But as soon as the weather turns warmer just a bit, or even if we have one warm winter day, the motorcycles appear like moths to a flame.  By April and right through to November, I cannot open the windows in my home.  No fresh air, no sleeping with a cool breeze coming in the windows, it is literally impossible.

 Why?  Loud motorcycles.  Not only do they get some thrill out of making their motorcycles as loud as possible, the will sit at the traffic light and rev their already loud engines.  When they take off, it’s as if a drill-bit is being jammed into my temple.   I cannot fall asleep, nor stay asleep during the night with my windows open and god forbid if I want to take a nap on a Saturday afternoon with the window open.

It is absolutely ridiculous, uncalled for, and as far as I am concerned, it is selfish on the part of the motorcycle owner, not to mention criminal in how they think they own the road. 

 Along with the noise is the attitude.  Why are motorcyclists allowed to travel in packs of sometimes hundreds?  There was one occasion last summer where I was trying to pull out of a side street onto Pleasant Street in Springvale.  I was trying to get to the doctor as I was dealing with an urgent medical issue.  I sat there as hundreds of motorcycles went by, one after the other, mile after mile, for 32 minutes.  Thirty-two minutes.  That is how long I waited trying to pull out on to the main road so I could get to an urgent doctor visit.  I tried inching my way out hoping somebody would have the smarts to know to let me out.  But no.  Not one single cyclist had the foresight to say “hey other people might need to get somewhere”.   I do not care if it was a joyride or a charity ride.  Groups of motorcycles do not need to travel in unending packs of obnoxious noise and a sense of entitlement.

 But my biggest issue is the noise.  Can they not tell how loud the bike is?  Are they deaf from the noise or do they just not care?  I see how they behave, revving up their engines at traffic lights.  If I’m next to one at a light, I have to close the windows in my car because I can’t hear the radio.  Or my passenger.  That’s just plain wrong.

I will do ANYTHING to help your cause.  I will call whomever you need me to call.  I will write to whomever you need me to write.  I will go to the State House and stand in front of a committee.  You just let me know.

 I have a blog that I can put to work on this topic.  And I will contact media outlets if need be.

 I was so shocked, and excited, that somebody is finally doing something about this.  I had no idea your organization even existed until I saw a news piece on WMTW and then did some Internet searches based on that. 

 Please sign me up to help.

Obviously, I am not serious about taking pot shots at bikers.  I don’t believe in violence.  Especially violence to fight stupidity.  However, there are many days that I think about it when a Harley goes SCREAMING by my home.  Being exposed to loud noises has been proven to cause sleep deprivation, chronic fatigue, anxiety, hostility, depression and hypertension.  At a recent doctor visit for a regular checkup, the thing withwhich my doctor was most concerned was my lack of sleep.

I feel like the old guy in the neighborhood who says “you kids get off my lawn” (said in an old man voice, of course) .  I am only in my early forties but have been bothered by loud noises like this for most of my life.  I hate loud TV’s and loud radios, too.  I honesty wouldn’t care so much about this if the root cause was not based in the bike owner’s sense of entitlement.  The U.S. Constitution says we have a right to live our lives freely, but it can’t be at the expense of other citizens right to the same.

If you would like to support MECALM , and would like to support the few Maine Legislators that are backing this bill (LD-1675), or if you simply would like more information, please go to

Back to Stugazzi’s, Restaurant Review Part 2

After my first review of Stugazzi’s Italian AMERICAN restaurant, I received a lot of disagreeable comments.   I always try to be fair and don’t have any reservations about admitting I’m wrong.  So I decided to give Stugazzi’s another try.

I know that in order to have credibility, I would have to order a small variety of dishes and on different nights.  In the meantime I asked one of the cashiers at Rite-Aid (across the street from Stugazzi’s) if she had ever been to Stugazzi’s.  She said yes, and I asked what she had and was it good.  She raved about one dish; it was pasta with chicken and broccoli in what she called an alfredo sauce.  So I gave it a shot.  The next evening after work, I called in a to-go order.  I order the chicken and broccoli over linguini.  I also ordered a caesar salad.  When I arrived to pick it up I noticed they had renovated a bit from the last time I was there.  What didn’t change was the confusion.  Not only I, but other customers who walked in, had no idea where to go, where to stand, do we seat ourselves, where do I go to pick up my take out.  The only thing that changed is that they had added a big wooden bar on the left side of “the room”.  I still don’t know if you are supposed to seat yourself or wait for the waitress.  I remember people asking what they should do but I was more concerned about my order and since I wasn’t eating in, I didn’t care.

Back to the food.  After asking what I had to do to pick up my take out order, I walked over to the “window”.  Both the pasta dish and the caesar salad came in a typical supermarket, salad bar, aluminum, round thing with a see-through plastic cover.  In addition, each aluminum “bowl” was covered in layers of plastic wrap.  I knew at that moment the packaging would come back to haunt me but wasn’t sure how or why, yet.   The salad (cold) was placed on top of the pasta dish (hot).  So the heat from the pasta dish wilted the caesar salad.  Anyone in the food industry with any experience at all knows that you put cold on the bottom, then a piece of cardboard, then the hot stuff on top.  When you do it the other way, heat rises and so does the heat’s wilting ability. DUH!

Because I live close by I just paid and took my stuff and went home quickly.  I tried hard to salvage the salad but to no avail.  I threw it in the fridge as soon as I got home but in checking it later, the dry, wilted, dressing-less salad could not be salvaged.  That’s $7.00 I’ll never get back.

Next, I unwrapped the pasta dish as if it were a mummy at an archeological dig.  Luckily, the “sauce” was not really alfredo.  It was more like a light butter sauce with some lemon, maybe white wine, and garlic.  I started to have renewed faith that maybe Stugazzi’s would surprise me.  Barring the caesar salad incident, and the fact that my first visit ever was opening week, this pasta dish was pretty good.  I enjoyed it.  It’s not something I would crave but I enjoyed it enough for a last-minute meal decision on the way home from work.  The salad gave its life for me that night.  I buried it in my garbage can.

So I had one really bad experience a few months ago, followed by one OK experience on Wednesday, earlier this week.  I was thinking about this blog and the comments and I really wanted to have a fantastic experience. 

So yesterday, on Friday night, just two days after my pasta experience, I tried again. 

Read More »

Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins – Maine’s phony Senators

As a citizen of Maine, I have called the offices of both Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins on several occasions.  For some reason these two women get some sort of credit for being moderate Republicans.  What the hell is a moderate Republican.  Considering that Snowe and Collins are the only two Republican representatives in Congress from all six New England states, one might think that Moderate Republican means a Democrat.  And now that Olympia Snowe has voted to allow the Baucus Healthcare Reform Bill to move forward to the full Senate, she has somehow become more important than she was yesterday.  Saint Snowe.  I don’t think so.  And apparently others are questioning it as well.    Everyone thought she would have a seat at the next bargaining table up the chain.  She won’t.  And she doesn’t deserve it.

On Tuesday, October 13, 2009, after the Senate Finance Committee sent the Baucus Healthcare Reform Bill to the full Senate, Snowe was touted as the focal point of the entire health care debate.  The truth is that the Finance Committee didn’t need her vote.  The vote was 14 to 9, but without her, it would have been 13 to 10.  Still a win for the Democrats in my estimation.  So all we really got was the appearance of bi-partisanship because ONE Republican vote yes.

My last phone call to Stowe’s office was about a month ago.  I asked what her position was on Healthcare.  I got the standard answer, which wasn’t an answer at all.  “What is your position on healthcare?” was all I got.  That and “Senator Snowe hasn’t come up with her final position yet”.  Really!?  The whole country is fighting for or against health care reform but Senator Snowe from Maine hasn’t decided what her position is yet?  I don’t understand why these Senators can’t just state a position.  I pay your god damned salary so TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOUR THINKING!

I know, now, that I received no answers because there were no answers.  She voted “yes” on October 13, but as she said “today is today”.  Meaning, “don’t count on me for anything – I’m going to hedge my bet and see which answers will get me re-elected”.  I don’t care about your orphaned, rags-to-riches background, I really don’t.  You are there for six years at a time to represent ME.  When are you going to start?

I know so many people in Maine that don’t have health insurance and are suffering…badly.  And those that do have it don’t have very good health insurance, just like me.  I have coverage, but it doesn’t cover what I need it to cover.  So even with insurance my monthly expenses for medical bills and prescriptions are slowly and methodically driving me to financial ruin. 

Having said that, Olympia Snowe can’t possibly be representing her constituents accurately because if she was, she would be on her hands and knees begging other Republicans for a National Health Care System with a single payer.

Snowe is betting that there are enough rich Republicans in Maine who don’t want universal health care to re-elect her.  That’s it, that’s all.

Senator Collins is another story.  Well actually, no it isn’t.  It’s the same.  Collins is on the Insurance Industry payroll just like all the others.  Her public statements, both written and oral, have indicated she is flat out against what she calls a “Washington-run” health care system.  She is also against any single payer system.   Well, she is part of “Washington”.  Is she saying that she doesn’t trust herself not to run a corruption-free universal health care system?  Or is she saying that she can’t vote FOR health care reform because she can’t afford not to get campaign contributions from Aetna, Unum, or Blue Cross, all of whom have a big presence in Maine.  The answer?  Both.

I have called Senator Collins’ office many times as well.  I’ve asked what her position is on healthcare.  I get the same thing – “What is YOUR position on health care and I will relay that message to her”.  Here we go.  Another one of my “employees” who won’t tell me what her position is on health care reform.  I don’t know how the hell this woman got re-elected in 2008.  She’s sitting pretty now and must owe here contributors a LOT of favors.  Every time I watch her on television in an interview, she is cagey, evasive, and can’t seem to come up with just one straight answer; everything is hedged.

I dont’ believe that Senators Collins and Snowe should have health insurance for themselves, paid for by me, until all of the citizens of Maine have the same opportunities that they do to get coverage.  Why is this such a bad idea?  I pay their salaries.  She has one of the richest insurance plans available.  And I am going broke trying to pay for my medical expenses. 

Collins and Snowe:  You were elected by the people and for the people.  It’s time you did your jobs.  Listen to the citizens of Maine, not your own opinions and re-elections tactics.  You are in Washington to represent us, not yourselves.

Until you both give up your healthcare in solidarity, and until at least every Maine citizen has affordable, universal health care, I will continue to call you out, and call you nothing but phony.   You don’t know how lucky you are that the people in Maine who DON’T follow politics simply  recognize your name and pull the lever on Election Day.

Maine gets Gay Marriage just right

When I listened to Governor John Baldacci of Maine give his speech following his signing of the of the Gay Marriage Bill  just a few short hours after receiving the bill, all I could think of was “He got it right”.

I watched and listened to what he said, not as a gay man,  but as a citizen of Maine, and the United States.  Even though I am gay I have not always agreed with the arguments FOR or AGAINST gay marriage. 

It wasn’t until I heard the Governor explain that the new law is about affording equal rights to all Maine citizens as outlined in Maine’s Constitution that it all made sense to me.  The Constitution’s first Article states “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Baldacci used this first and most important Article to first understand for himself that allowing Gay Marriage in Maine is not about granting the same rights to gay people that are affording to heterosexual people.  He said we are all equal and all deserve the same rights and when he looked at the issue from that perspective, he could not come up with any reasons not to allow Gay Marriage.

 He went on further to say that that no religion will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, or even recognize same-sex marriages within the realm of their own belief system because Maine has strict policies about the division of church and State.  And Maine whole-heartedly abides by the Church/State tenet.

These are ideas that I had never heard anyone express in this specific manner before; the idea that the State will allow gay civil marriages but it won’t force any church to recognize them.  So if, for example, the Catholic Church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage because it goes against their belief system, they don’t have to.  But the Catholic Church can’t tell a gay couple what civil rights they can or cannot have.  The same applies to any other religion.  On the flip side, a gay couple cannot force a religious organization to perform or recognize their marriage and cannot claim discrimination if that church will not recognize their marriage or perform their marriage ceremony.  Under these circumstances, anybody against same-sex marriage CAN hide behind their religion, and take comfort there.  But they can not deny rights to others.

I believe that this is as close as anybody is going to get to writing a law that makes sense when defining gay marriage.  It covers all the bases.  Nobody is forcing anyone to “believe” in anything and those who call themselves “believers” can’t squelch equality and civil rights by hiding behind their religion.  So, like the U.S. Constitution has done so many times, it was Maine’s constitution that acted as the final document to guide us through this divisive issue. 

Governor Baldacci was never comfortable with the gay marriage issue.  But, he found it in himself to understand that legislators, or politicians if you wish, need to take a stand and can not continually defer to public opinion.  All of the far lefties, and far righties have had more than enough time to express their viewpoints on this issue, and they have.  Neither is a shy group. 

The Governor said that he realizes this will not be the last word on the issue.  In my opinion, it should be, but it won’t be.  Instead of worrying about real problems, the whack jobs are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.  

The Maine Legislature and the Governor have laid down the gauntlet.  There are no “reasonable” arguments against this law as it was written.  First, anybody who protests this law must first say to themselves, and then the public, “I intend to take away the civil rights of others”.   Secondly, anybody who intends to use the Bible or their religion as an argument can stop right there.  The law clearly states that you don’t have to religiously recognize gay marriage or perform gay marriage if you don’t want to.  So what’s left?

Well, there’s the “I simply think it is wrong” argument.   Hmmm?  Are they also against heterosexual couples who get married and never intend to have children, or those who get married for convenience, or those who get married to obtain property, money, or social status (you know, the reason marriage was invented in the first place).  What one “thinks” or “believes” is wrong is immaterial.  Because under the Constitution of the State of Maine, all citizens have equal rights and included in that is their right to marry whom they choose as long as it is not breaking any other laws (like the minimum age for marriage or harm to animals). 

There is only one argument against Maine’s Gay Marriage law and it’s a faux-argument called “hate, fear, and ignorance” none of which are viable arguments against ANY law.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean some people in Maine won’t mind standing up and saying “I hate, I fear, and I am ignorant” to try and get their way.

Maine takes a bold stance against National ID Cards

Many times since I moved to Maine in 2001, I have had regrets about the decision to do so.  But I am proud that my State has stood up to the Feds to take a strong stance against “Real ID:, the National ID Card program.

Maine’s Governor, John Baldacci, is behind this revolt.  At first the arguments against implementing this nationwide program here in Maine were about the incredibly high costs to Maine’s taxpayers to make it happen.  Maine is already trying to figure out how to deal with a $200 million budget shortfall, so adding an additional $200 million just isn’t feasible.

But if you look further into the reasons behind Maine’s request for an extension (extensions already granted to other states like New Hampshire and Montana) you can see some of the real reasons why Baldacci and other state leaders are against this program.Read More »

They keep saying that slow Christmas sales are due to the weather

I have been watching the news lately.  Where I live, I get the news from the Portland, Maine TV market, and the Boston TV Market.

I’ve heard them say several times that because of several snow days, sales have been slower this year than normal.

Now let’s think about that.  Say you had a list of ten people to buy for and you only bought for five of them.  It’s snowing; will you actually say to yourself “Well, I guess I won’t buy anything for those other five people”.  Come on.

The reason sales are slow is because people don’t have any money.  I am unemployed and have been for eight months.  I look for and apply for jobs almost every day.  I have had one interview in all these months and I am a skilled technology worker with an extensive background.  I am not buying any presents this year at all.  My friends that have jobs and are earning an income are struggling.  They have had to cut back on what they normally would buy.  My family is big.  I have 5 brothers and sisters. All married, all working. They are struggling too.  Gas is expensive.  Food is expensive.  Raising children and preparing for college is expensive.  The doctor and the dentist are expensive.

We are the disappearing middle class.  That’s why people aren’t spending as much money on Christmas presents this year, and probably the year after that.  The economy is terrible and people are just trying to survive every day.  Why isn’t the news reporting this.  Why is everyone afraid to say that Americans are more in debt and getting poorer every day.  The middle class is becoming the working poor and god only knows what will happen to those that are already poor.  I think we need to get our heads out of the sand and admit that China and Russia are buying up America at a record pace.  America is a debtor nation and for the first time in history, the next generation will be poorer than the one before it.  I just think it’s time we tell it like it is.

I am 43 years old and have been working since I graduated high school at 17.  So for 26 years, not a week has gone buy that I did not bring home a pay check, and as a result pay taxes, until now.  For the first time in my life I had to ask for help.  The town I live in just paid my rent for the month of December and gave me a debit card which is equivalent to food stamps.  And even the local convenience stores aren’t hiring.

Let’s not blame lackluster sales for Christmas on the fact that there is snow on the ground.  Let’s un-bury our heads from that snow and really take a look around at what is really going on.  The state of the middle class is terrifying to me; it is what I am afraid of, not Osama bin Laden.

Murderer, Michael Woodbury, gets what he wants from WGME News

WGME News Channel 13 in Portland, Maine was so proud of their “exclusive” scoop when a self-admitted murderer, Michael Woodbury, was being walked outside from a holding tank to the courthouse.

Journalist Kate Barker asked Woodbury on that short walk if he committed the murders at a store in Conway, New Hampshire, and he said “Unfortunately, I Did”

WGME also reported that the reason Woodbury talked to WGME was that he watches WGME news and LIKES TO SEE HIMSELF ON TV.

Are you friggin kidding me?   WGME could have told the whole story without ever showing a picture of him to prove to him, and everyone else, that murder is not a way to get your face on TV.  But did they take the high road?  Did they teach a valuable lesson?  No. They showed this clip of him over and over again.  Great work WGME, you are so stupid that you played right into his hand.  I hope you are proud of yourselves.