Granddad's Forecast for America in 2015
Perhaps 2015 will be best remembered as the year we realized that modest growth and slight deflation are most laudable economic goals. Robust growth usually is followed by robust crisis and slight deflation means that each of our dollars goes slightly farther every year. This may be the only way we can moderate the disaster that inevitably follows excessive printing of money. Excessive printing of money, first in the U.S. and now in Japan and Europe increases the specter of inflation, but we will see stable prices and interest rates at least through this year. There will be currency instability and turmoil, because of overactive central banks, and the dollar will continue to be strong. This will be a drag on our exports, but will also be seen by American consumers in lower import prices. The result of this turmoil, probably not in 2015 but the inevitable result, will be a new international currency regimen.
Jan 28, 2015 - 10:28:35 PM
An Olympic wrestler, his Czech girlfriend, and research for my first novel
A search of Olympic wrestlers brought the country Bulgaria to the forefront. Bulgaria is noted for producing strongmen. Pursuing the words Bulgaria and Bulgarian government, the Bulgarian mafia surfaced. I began a lengthy search of the political history and the interrelated birth of the Bulgarian mafia following the collapse of communism.
Jan 21, 2015 - 8:21:50 AM
Down the Road
Books for any year
On our sofa, I can be anywhere doing a variety of things via books. There are always at least two on the table in front of the sofa. My last book trip took me to George Washington and the Revolutionary War, the everyday experiences of those I met who lived back in the 1770s. The one I'm reading now is taking me to the far West, where railroads are being built and Custer is about to be in his last stand.
Dec 28, 2014 - 1:35:50 AM
Down the Road
The parts of Christmas
If your Christmas is centered on that first part, the birth of Jesus, feel free to let me know that. It would be nice to know that someone's actually is. The fourth part of Christmas is that the long, dark days also seem to bring difficulties, usually money problems. So Christmas sort-of becomes the day we can temporarily set aside those problems and concentrate on at least those two other parts of Christmas, the tree and the gifts, which form the memories of Christmases past. (Think about how many Christmas movies feature those tough times, fictionally lightened by Christmas Day.)
Dec 21, 2014 - 3:20:05 AM
Using The Brain's Right And Left Sides When Writing A Book
I use the left side of my brain to ensure the story is developed in a decisive manner. The right side is used to make the story come alive. Coordinating the two sides allows me not to stumble, as the people I mentioned above did. Using my creative right side helps move the story along with excitement and intrigue. But I should emphasize that I never leave the foundation of the storyline, because that's the overall framework of the story and how it unfolds, and I never want to lose focus of that objective or I might fall into the same predicament of writers who can never finish a book.
Dec 17, 2014 - 6:00:19 AM
Chanukah Guide for the Perplexed, 2014 Based on Jewish Sages
The Hebrew word Chanukah consists of two words, Chanu - which means "they rested/stationed" in Hebrew - and Kah -- which means 25 in Hebrew - referring to the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, when the Maccabees re-consecrated the Temple.
Dec 17, 2014 - 5:57:11 AM
Down the Road
I hope the picture of the lawn that you are giving us with the retirement house you're offering us shows a much smaller lawn than ours. I haven't yet seen that picture you sent, but I'm sure the lawn is much too big. I don't mind if the rest of the yard is cluttered with trees and brush, but that lawn needs to be small.
Dec 14, 2014 - 12:20:01 AM
Down the Road
Snow/ice hiking and falling
One other time I fell "but good" was when I had been walking in the Birdsacre woods in Ellsworth. The ground was snow covered, and I stopped to rest a bit while leaning on a branch of a sapling. Suddenly, and I don't recommend this for practice at home, I was sitting down. The bottom part of my anatomy hurt, and my arm that was still clinging to the sapling hurt.
Dec 7, 2014 - 5:46:18 AM
Science and Theology - A Common Understanding
If we are to predict whether or not Robert Jastrow's 'bad dream' will actually unfold, we need to understand how far 'up the mountain of ignorance' science has progressed to date. We do this by first looking at the present paradigm which is responsible for the world we have created for ourselves. A paradigm is a common or collective belief based on a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality for the society that shares them. While each society may have their own particular paradigm, the belief that selfishness is a fait accompli underpins the paradigm of most societies.
Dec 7, 2014 - 5:45:32 AM
Down the Road
The Beautiful Scenery of My Retirement
For your dreaming times, the Craignair Inn we occasionally visit down along the ocean. Milt Gross Photo
Dec 7, 2014 - 5:03:13 AM
Are You Spiritually Gifted? By David Bertolacci
For example, many of us are socially conditioned to be polarized, or to choose one side versus the other. Although, a different approach would be to view the sides as opposite ends of a pole, like north and south poles of a magnet. They each describe the whole. This helps to balance the viewpoint. If you were walking a tightrope, you would want to be balanced, right? A common duality misconception I observe is science versus religion. Both have attempted to explain the origins of the universe, the solar system, and life. Both use analogies to communicate complex processes. The real misconception is the belief that one must pick a side. Instead, find a balanced position you are comfortable with. And this may just be the tipping point we need to end the negative programming in our minds and create a more loving positive system of beliefs. By healing ourselves, we create the space to heal those around us. This is a gift!
Dec 3, 2014 - 7:55:04 AM
Down the Road
After Thanksgiving -- or instead of it
Then there was this year's -- Thanksgiving without baking a turkey or going out to a nice restaurant for the meal. Thanksgiving at home with no electricity. When it came back on, electricity became our Thanksgiving. The next day, we still haven't dug out the car. We're too busy being thankful -- and enjoying the feeling of power, electric power that is.
Nov 30, 2014 - 12:20:45 AM
Surviving the Holiday Mommy Meltdown
At home, the upcoming holidays bring another form of pressure. Costumes, school party supplies, family commitments, extra baking (wait, I don't bake!), the perfect presents, formalwear, coupons, sales, and new tradition expectations -- everything at once! On top of all that, the winter sports begin with a heavy game schedule as January dawns, gotta think about that now, too. More paperwork and registrations.
Nov 30, 2014 - 12:17:44 AM
Down the Road
Tough spots in Maine's woods
My father and I once got turned around -- not lost -- on a fairly steep cliff on the other side of Tumbledown. We couldn't see where we'd climbed up, but we could see the mountaintop pond and other mountains in the distance. They gave us directions to climb safely back to the trail we had been following before we became adventuresome. Moral of that tale; if you feel adventuresome, spell "adventuresome" ten times and then don't do it.
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:27:54 AM
A Year of Feasting
My husband struggled with controlling his anger. One Sunday morning, while at church, God started dealing with him as well. He became so troubled, that he left to go back home. He started crying out to God. He couldn't cope any longer. He ask God to take this feeling away. As he was praying, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a "black thing" leave his body and vanish away.
Nov 20, 2014 - 7:15:30 AM
Thanksgiving Gluten Free and Lactose Tolerant!
So now that I am "gluten free and "lactose free," I had to figure out a way to still cook delicious biscuits, pies and stuffings so I can eat everything I want without denying myself the best meal of the year - - Thanksgiving. It has taken me a while to figure it all out.... but I did it. We know, the trouble with gluten free baked goods is that they're not very good. I love my old fashioned Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing, but that is all over for me. How to reproduce it with gluten free ingredients?
Nov 20, 2014 - 7:10:35 AM
How My Mother and Bob Hope Taught Me the True Meaning of Christmas
I also thought how someone as famous as Bob Hope -- who was such an American icon -- had traveled so far to give a show to me and my shipmates. How he and so many had given up their families at Christmas to come such a long way to reach out to men like me. Just to let us know that we weren't alone. Christmas, for my mother -- and now for me -- would always be in the warmth of family, in the hearts of loved ones and of those who one care's about. It would always be in the drawing together against the world's cold to share the warmth that only we can give to each other, and, together, to dare hope for a time when the world won't be quite so mean, quite so lonely, or quite so cold.
Nov 19, 2014 - 12:33:28 AM
Excerpt from Isabella Clarence's book: "Different?...You Have Always Been Different"
About six months earlier when Isabella had just turned two, she shouted at her because the little one was being stubborn. She said to me 'I really shouted and I realised straight away that I had reacted too harshly, after all she was still just a baby.' Anyone who has children will understand that little ones can be very trying, we have all heard of 'the terrible two's.' Diane told me that she was having a particular bad day herself that day, she was tired and yes she knew she shouldn't have shouted at the little one, but she had. Isabella had started to stammer very soon after. That was six months ago and it was getting worse, not better.
Nov 19, 2014 - 12:27:02 AM
Down the Road
The Air Force Reserves
On the way home, one of the doors in our aircraft wouldn't stay shut while we were high above somewhere, so we tied it closed with some clothesline. And one of our engines began to lose oil, so our pilot was on the radio trying to find out where the nearest C119 gas station was located. Of course, the radio wasn't functioning correctly, which made the entire trip home kind of scary.
Nov 16, 2014 - 12:20:00 AM
Down the Road
Belfast has other advantages besides providing hide-out spots from insurance salesmen. It is not far from Bangor -- which may be an advantage -- or Camden if you like summer crowds or even Augusta if you like to watch politicians at nonwork. It is not near crowded-in-summer Acadia National Park, which is either an advantage or disadvantage depending on your view of Acadia. And it is not that far from Moody Mountain Road in Lincolnville, where there is a 12-foot-tall sign post bearing the names of a dozen places, some of which are even real towns.
Nov 9, 2014 - 3:53:31 AM
Woman Up!: 12 Reasons You Don't Need "Thanks" Every Day
There is a reason why cheerleading is such an integral part of our culture. Everyone needs a good cheerleader, a diehard fan, an avid supporter -- not just professional sports teams. Cheerleaders are there for support and celebration when you win, and consoling words of encouragement when you lose. But what happens when you can't make a decision at work without that constant cheerleader? What happens when you don't hear "job well done" -- is it still a "job well done"? (If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?)
Nov 6, 2014 - 5:33:17 AM
Down the Road
My father and I once wandered off a pasture into the edge of a woods over in Belgrade. We had been in familiar turf; we could see up the field to the road and even to the house. Suddenly we were in strange country, low trees and brush, the only paths those of cattle that had wandered there. Those hoof-made paths wound and zigzagged. A bit frightening, as now we had no idea where we were -- where the farmhouse was.
Nov 2, 2014 - 12:20:17 AM
5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Family Holiday Gatherings
The table is set with your holiday dishes and best silver, and the smell of the cooking turkey is wafting throughout the house. Fresh pine garland is draped just so over the hutch and bookcases, the Christmas tree is dripping with twinkling lights and memento ornaments, while packages are strewn under the tree waiting to be opened. You look around one more time checking to make sure everything is set, and then the doorbell rings. The first of many family members has arrived. Within minutes the house is bubbling with conversations mixed with familiar holiday music. You're crossing your fingers that all stays well. "So far, so good. " you whisper to yourself. You spoke too soon...
Oct 29, 2014 - 6:05:27 AM
Down the Road
Rambling while retired
But now I'm thinking about hikes I probably won't and will take in my future after the hip surgery. I probably won't tackle Katahdin again (six climbs are probably enough) but I will likely head up the much smaller Bald Peak in Acadia. It's got all the features of Maine's higher mountains, only in miniature. I probably won't trip on the north side of Baldpate again, but then once was enough. I can find much lower places to trip. There are lots of places we still plan to go, such as the state museum in Augusta and old Fort Western there. You can drive right up to them, and there are no steep, rocky trails inside.
Oct 26, 2014 - 6:35:13 AM
18 Short Stories about love in British & Indian Culture
'Love and its trials' is the keynote that rings throughout the whole book emitting a kind of warm scents like the cinnamon tree woods. To some people this book reflects the theme of multiculturalism, fusing British and Indian culture together in one receptacle of a hot cauldron. However, my sole intention was to write about people focusing on the complexity of their psyche, not about culture. The book deals with different kinds of love - parental love, romantic love, spiritual love, narcissistic love, love for one's convictions and culture, love for one's nostalgic past and faith.
Oct 21, 2014 - 11:30:25 AM
Mother, Mother, What Do You See?
Mother, I don't know how long I have in this world, but as long as there is life in this body, I will strive to reach that mountaintop. I owe it to the unfulfilled dreams of you and Father, to plant our flag on its highest peak. Like some my heart embraces the wisdom of Harriet du Autremont, "No vision and you parish; no ideal, and you are lost; your heart must cherish some faith at all cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to, some rainbow in the sky, some melody to sing to, some service that is high."
Oct 21, 2014 - 11:28:51 AM
Down the Road
Fall or autumn
Even when they spoke of fall, they couldn't agree when, exactly, it took place. In the 17th and 18th centuries, dictionaries by both Thomas Blount and Samuel Johnson noted that some thought that fall began in August and ended in November, while others contested that it began in September (at the equinox) and ended in December (with the solstice)."
Oct 19, 2014 - 6:12:56 AM
Down the Road
On with retirement
I remember when I used to walk fast on the mountain trails, a nice memory which probably won't be repeated in the near future. I recall the Beehive in Acadia National Park, where I didn't fall hundreds of feet into the ocean but felt like I would; I remember climbing Katahdin six times, which I won't be doing again in the near future; I recall climbing Mount Washington, seeing snow in August and almost losing a teenager who left us at the top and legged it pretty fast for the bottom -- but got turned around until a ranger called us at the top to tell us where the kid was; I remember the slippery leaves on the trail up Mount Batti in Camden, where I slipped back in the day when slipping was no big deal.
Oct 12, 2014 - 12:17:12 AM
Your Wife has Cancer
My wife was a cherished elementary school teacher and was very active in our local church. During her cancer journey, she received so many cards and homemade gifts and tokens of love that we didn't have enough space to display all of them for her to see and enjoy. On her birthday, April 6, 2013, my son and I decided to cut down a tree from our property and put it up in our living room where we could hang all of the expressions of faith and love that she'd received. We called the tree her "Luvya Tree." She was so deeply moved by the tree and it became such a great source of encouragement for her. From that day until she died on April 27th, excluding nights in the hospital, she slept in a bed next to the Luvya Tree.
Oct 10, 2014 - 10:40:21 PM
7 Friendship Ingredients to Implement in Marriage
Relationship problems occur because we do for our spouse what our individual preferences and desires would be, rather than what is important for them. Sometimes, basic qualities that contribute to good friendships -- sacrifice for each other and appreciating each other -- also go by the wayside in our marriages. Healthy friendships avoid pitfalls that often our spousal relationships fall into. I've listed below 7 of the top ingredients that catapult friendships and are highly valuable in our spousal relationships."
Oct 10, 2014 - 10:35:15 PM
Find peace in the Gospel of Thomas
I came to know and respect a different Jesus than the traditional biblical one. In reconciling these two versions of Jesus I found that scholarship had long held views that contradicted the ideas of prophecy, amongst other things. The version of Jesus that made the most sense in the end was the Jesus we meet in the 114 Jesus sayings recorded in the Gospel of Thomas.
Oct 10, 2014 - 10:20:07 PM
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) Guide for the Perplexed, 2014
The House of David is compared to a Sukkah/tabernacle (Amos 9:1-15), representing the central vision of the ingathering of Jews to their land, Zion, the Land of Israel. Sukkot is the holiday of harvesting -- Assif - which also means "ingathering" in Hebrew. The four sides of the Sukkah represent the global Jewish community, which ingathers under the same roof/shelter. The construction of the Sukkah and Zion are two of the 248 Jewish Do's (next to the 365 Don'ts). Sukkot -- just like Passover -- commemorates Jewish sovereignty and liberty. Sukkot highlights the collective responsibility of the Jewish people, complementing Yom Kippur's and Rosh Hashanah's individual responsibility. Humility -- as a national and personal prerequisite - is accentuated by the humble Sukkah. Sukkot provides the last opportunity for the annual repentance.
Oct 10, 2014 - 10:05:39 PM
Down the Road
The narrow gauge choo choo ride continues
Boothbay Railway Village's narrow gauge property even has a village green, which is where children's activities are held these days. Years ago, most New England towns had greens where villagers could graze their animals and other activities occurred. Boothbay Railway Village also has a variety of buildings from the past, including an old school house, a chapel, a town hall used today by Boothbay residents for town meetings, and an antique auto museum.
Oct 5, 2014 - 12:23:31 AM
Ditch Your Costume and Woman Up at Work
The reality is that women are low risk-takers and are paralyzed at the thought of looking stupid, silly, or incompetent. They hide behind their make-believe personas and internal fantasy dialogue, and ultimately end up killing their careers. It's time to pull on those "big-girl panties" and save the costumes for when you go trick-or-treating on Halloween. Woman UP! and be yourself.
Oct 5, 2014 - 12:17:01 AM
Yom Kippur Guide for the Perplexed, Oct 3-4 2014
The Scroll of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur. It demonstrates that repentance and forgiveness is universal. Among its lessons: commanding one to assume responsibility; getting involved socially/politically; sounding the alarm when wrong-doing is committed anywhere in the world; displaying compassion for all peoples and adhering to faith and optimism in defiance of all odds.
Oct 3, 2014 - 9:59:42 PM
Healing in Affirmations
I discovered affirmations and how they could heal the body. I learned that the body can be healed through thought alone. Pretty soon, I recovered completely from lupus just by changing my thoughts and beliefs through affirmations.
Oct 3, 2014 - 10:13:22 AM
How to Win Your Next Parenting Wars at Back to School Night
As an expat Brit with seventeen years of parenting in the US under my belt, I'm here to warn you that this is one American school tradition, unlike Prom night, that you almost certainly don't want to import. Actually, I wish the Brits had never started to import the tradition of Prom night, with all the potential for romantic rejection and social exclusion that entails, but I speak as a chubby former teen, and besides, that ship has already sailed, or so I understand.
Oct 1, 2014 - 9:07:04 PM
Down the Road
The narrow gauge railroad at Boothbay
According to the pamphlet, the standard four-foot 8.5-inches wide track had its origins in Roman soldiers driving two-horse carts. The two horses were a combined width of about four feet. The carts left tracks, and in order not to damage the carts it was important to keep the same width of the road. The standard gauge railroad developed from the width of those roads.
Sep 28, 2014 - 5:45:02 AM
Rosh HaShanah guide for the perplexed, 2014
Rosh Hashanah is also referred to as "Ha'rat Olam" (the pregnancy of the world), and it's prayers highlight motherhood, optimism and the pregnancies of Sarah and Rachel, the Matriarchs, and Hannah, who gave birth to Isaac, Joseph & Benjamin and the Prophet Samuel respectively. Sarah (the root of the Hebrew word, Israel) and Hannah (the root of the Hebrew words Pardon, Amnesty and Merciful) were two of the seven Jewish Prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Hannah, Deborah, Huldah, Abigail, Esther. Hannah's prayer has become a role-model for God-heeded-prayers which are recited by the "non-privileged".
Sep 24, 2014 - 8:07:20 AM
Down the Road
I didn't move to Maine in 1965 to work. I came to enjoy the mountains, the trails, the lakes, the ocean, and the outdoors generally. Did I? No. I had to work to be able to live in the Pine Tree State. Been working all that time until now. The worst part about retirement is I won't see my friends on the bus each day. The best part is I won't have to get up at 4 a.m. to see my friends on the bus each day.
Sep 24, 2014 - 7:58:15 AM