Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year’s ‘Two-fer’

Well good evening, Other Side readers.  We know not about you, but we’ve missed our regular exchanges.  As we sit here on the first Sunday of the new year, we look forward to a 2011 where the pace of sizzling dialogue is……ummm,…..sizzling.  As most of you know, we’ve always been more about the “sizzle than the steak.”

We’re surely glad the hype for the change of years is nowhere near the level we experienced as 2000 approached.  Do you remember the looming sense of disaster associated with that turnover?  And how long ago that was?  Tempus flies, and time fugits, doesn’t it?

Your correspondent is now back in the offices, relaxing after our traditional new year’s feast of baked ham, macaroni and cheese, and succotash.  Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it, especially our home-made version of the mac and cheese, which we prepare in huge amounts, so as to enjoy it long after the Rose Parade has ended.

Now to the main subject of this post.  We have regularly chatted on about “putting lipstick on a pig,” but we won’t bore you with links to examples from the past.

Instead, we offer up two current reports exemplifying the art, submitted under the heading of ‘you can’t make this stuff up.’

Porcine Pulchritude, Maine-Style

1) FLee Bailey, lipstick merchant extraordinaire, combines forces with a total make-over expert

Bailey, the noted barrister, has spent the better part of his professional life applying lipstick to a long list of infamous celebrity pigs in the hopes of making them beautiful in the eyes of the public, and more importantly, in the eyes of our legal system.  And he has enjoyed much success in doing so; sufficient to buy himself a variety of aircraft and yachts.

In recent years, he worked very hard right here in the Brunswick area to convince MRRA officials, and others, that Oxford Aviation was an aviation diamond in the rough, worthy of millions in public ‘investment.’  He collaborated with ‘Johnny Protocols,’ otherwise known as John Richardson, former candidate for Governor, to make Oxford’s Photoshop fantasy a reality.  But Oxford would not become Bailey’s latter day O.J. Simpson.

Now we learn that Bailey has relocated to Maine, and we are anxious to learn of his plans for our future.  Including the involvement of Johnny Protocols, oops, I mean John Richardson, his soul-mate.  We simply refuse to accept that we have seen the last of either of them.  And to prove us right, FLee reportedly attended the recent annual dinner of the MRRA board.

Portland’s daily newspaper recently published an article that gives us some insights.

Since arriving, he and (Debbie) Elliott have launched Bailey & Elliott Consulting, selling a range of services as diverse as Bailey's background.

The new firm consults on general business matters and a variety of specialized topics and industries, drawing on the backgrounds of Bailey and Elliott, a longtime small-business owner and former business development specialist at the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

Elliott, who once owned salons in Portland and Newport, heads the cosmetology side of the pair's consulting business. She cuts, colors and styles clients' hair and provides other personal care services.

Bailey said the services are related. Elliott can take care of clients' appearance; meanwhile, he preps them for court.

Well, there you have it.  A story you can’t make up.  Bailey’s ‘partner’ Elliott is a former official at Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development, headed by Johnny Protocols (Richardson) until he decided to run for Governor in 2009.  And Elliott offers services directed at improving clients’ appearance.

The perfect merger of his legal talents for putting lipstick on a pig, and her cosmetological art of selecting the ideal shades of makeup to complete the transformation.

As we said, you can’t make this stuff up. 

John, oh John, it’s your turn in the chair!  Let’s get started with your makeover!  Might we suggest a little hair coloring?  And perhaps some rouge to elevate your cheek bones a bit?  It might enhance your believability some.

2) Doug Rooks, local make up artist,  slathers on the lip gloss…..

Doug Rooks (rhymes with kooks) is a vastly overrated and overpaid columnist on matters of Maine governance.  If he makes even one dollar per column, he is getting far more than his apologist drivel merits, especially since your humble correspondent earns not a penny for all the hard work he puts into the enlightenment regularly offered on these pages.  But such is the plight of a martyr, and we really have no choice in the matter.

In keeping with the theme of lipstick on pigs, Rooks’ most recent piece in the Ostrich lathers it on way beyond what respectable ladies would do as he attempts to spin Maine’s death spiral into a wondrous thing to behold.

The 2010 U.S. Census, predicted to show a stagnant Maine population, instead showed that Maine grew more rapidly than any other New England state except New Hampshire. And, contrary to earlier Census estimates, Maine still has more people than New Hampshire. Our population of 1,328,361 is 12,000 more than theirs.

So Doug….where did you get that ‘prediction?’  And you want us to entertain the delusion of “rapidly” for Maine’s “growth?”  And to do so by comparing us to a dying New England region?  Wow…I think this is what damning with faint praise means.

True, the 4.2 percent gain for the decade was less than half the national average of 9.6 percent, but this is hardly a bad thing. Moderate population growth is, on the whole, the most fortunate condition. The kind of runaway growth experienced in parts of the South and Southwest hardly contributes to an increase in happiness. Over-strained public services, traffic jams, environmental destruction, and — after the crash — empty housing developments — is hardly the future we wish for Maine.

Ah…now we understand; while population grew more rapidly elsewhere, we should be encouraged by our less than half a percent growth a year, lest we be devastated by the pressures of growth of under one percent a year.  Read Dougie’s words carefully and slowly, and what you see is the underlying priority for determined liberals and environmentalists: commitment to population control, and more important, a longing for population reduction. 

Are you doing your part to help them achieve their goals, my readers?  If nothing else, please make sure your children leave the state as they become adults.  We don’t need no stinkin’ young families and the economic activity they might spawn messin’ up our ‘quality of place.’

Our allegedly abominable business climate was also a key election issue. Exhibit A was a late-breaking story in Fortune magazine putting Maine 50th — last — in its business index for 2011. The story got big play and eager credence because it seemed to confirm what so many already want to believe, yet its evidence was remarkably flimsy.

You might notice that Dougie offers no repudiation of the Fortune rankings, nor does he mention that we dropped from 41st to dead last in just one year.  He probably sees that as just a rounding error somehow.  So Dougie….had they ranked us number one, or elevated us by ten spots in one year, would you still see the evidence as ‘remarkably flimsy?’

We conclude by asking if FLee and Debbie have an open chair in their salon that they can lease to Rooks; he seems to be a perfect match for their expertise in make-up, and in the related art of making things up.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I have a strange urge to make up some pancakes for breakfast in the morning.