Monday, September 30, 2013

“DGiles:” town governing elite, and ad hominem purveyor ad nauseum

(Note to Senator Stan:  You’ll want to read the entire column, since you have been ‘targeted’ with some particularly juvenile barbs.)

As you know, here on Other Side, we welcome readers of all stripes, because we make just as much money from those who disagree with us as from those who do agree with us.  All we ask is that those who wish to participate avoid being disagreeable, even if they do disagree with us.

Lately we’ve noticed a “D Giles'” popping up on comment pages in local media outlets, including this one.  His comments in both places have been, you might say, less civil than one would expect from thinking and respectful adults.

Here are a few examples of the deposits he’s made in Side’s public comment punchbowl:

“Bowdoin does pay taxes. Plus unrestricted cash to the town. Facts don't matter to you, because it would make your rants less interesting. Brunswick's own Rushbo. Old fat white guy.” on Poor Bowdoin College; lucky for them, they’re a ‘non-profit,’ and exempt from taxes…   DGiles, Sept 19


“Check out the Town of Brunswick web page, go to the Finance page, go to tax committment page and search for Bowdoin. This blog won't paste it well, but for the lazy old fat white guy(s), here is the data. U17‐095‐000‐000 01311458 BOWDOIN COLLEGE C/O…”   DGiles, Sept 20


“Mitch, you are an idiot.” on Johnny on the Spot: JP comes to our rescue on BDC and the BTC DGiles, Sept 29

You may recall that we made reference to his calling us old, fat, lazy, and a white guy in previous posts.  We have a thick skin, both literally and figuratively, so we could care less what he calls us.  We’ve been called far worse by sitting councilors at town meetings.

The last item above crosses a line, however.  He chose to attack one of our readers, instead of us.  So we decided to look into just who this ‘DGiles’ is.

Wouldn’t you just know it?; he’s a member of Brunswick’s governing elite class.  According to this source, Giles is a Board Member of the Brunswick Downtown Association (as of 7/20/13), and is also a member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, having been nominated to that position by then Councilor Jacquie “J.P.” Sartoris in February, 2005.  


You can’t come with a higher recommendation than that.

And according to the town web site, he still is.

We also recalled his name appearing elsewhere, as we noted above, so we went looking, and here are some lovely comments he’s posted on various items in The Forecaster.  We won’t bother you with those in which he shows a normal demeanor.  Just those that show the real inner DGiles.

Brunswick train depot foes: 'We will refute everything' at federal hearing

David Giles12 days ago



Town will mediate, may regulate, in ongoing clash between Cape Elizabeth gun club, neighbors

David Giles19 days ago

“So much like buying a house next to train tracks, then complaining about trains going by the house, or a train facility being built next to the train tracks.”


Unusual loan prompts scrutiny of Brunswick Development Corp.

David Gilesa month ago

“They pay excise taxes in Brunswick. Sad attempt Pembrook.”


Federal review of Brunswick train depot could provide neighborhood relief

David Giles3 months ago

“That may be the area that is protected as a water supply for Brunswick and Topsham.
And the area off Pleasant and Bouchard has been used as an outdoor maintenance yard. For every one person opposed to this, there are 100 in support. The ones opposed are so radical and viscious (sic) that most people choose to remain quiet.”


Proposed redevelopment bill incites war of words between Brunswick legislator, town councilors

David Giles5 months ago

“Yes, it is time for Stanley to stay home and take care of his mommy.”


Brunswick train layover facility moves forward, opposition continues

David Giles5 months ago

“Are you able to substantiate any of your accusations or are you drinking the Senator's self-serving Kool-Aide?”


Brunswick train layover facility moves forward, opposition continues

David Giles6 months ago

“The facts are what the facts are. This is the best location, it is properly zoned, does not require environmental sacrifices and is economically sound. Any of the other locations would cost millions more. Does that make sense? Try getting the facts, you might be surprised what you will learn.
Bringing the Town Council into this argument makes as much logic as bringing in the Vatican. They each have the same say in this matter.”


Noise concerns persist in Brunswick as Downeaster ridership exceeds expectations

David Giles10 months ago

“The supporters of the train in Brunswick greatly outnumber the two or three who are opposed. Of course, that would not make for a good article.”


Downeaster noise concerns persist in Brunswick as ridership exceeds expectations

David Giles10 months ago

“Check Google Earth, interesting that on a random day, it shows a length of freight trains idling off Bouchard Drive in the rail yard. Gerzofsky has done everything possible to kill the train to Brunswick, he has been on the wrong side of this from the very beginning. Funny thing is, I saw him smiling and waving on the podium during the celebration of the first train. hypocrite”


Hazardous materials, possible unexploded munitions still a worry at former Brunswick air base

David Gilesa year ago

“BACSE needs to go the way of the Navy, simply go away.”


Maine Heritage Policy Center names its chief economist as CEO

David Gilesa year ago

“he is a putz.”


Meet Jon Courtney: Looking to win ‘one handshake at a time’

David Gilesa year ago

“I have met him and he has to be the weakest candidate that the R's could have possibly put up to run against Pingree. The best thing about him running for this is that he will be out of the State Legislature.”


Maine State Housing Authority board chairman denies ‘witch hunt,’ says affairs improving at agency

David Gilesa year ago

“Anastos is a liar. I have known him for years and he is the lowest of the low.”


Op-ed: The Not-So-Secret Libretto Tricks of School Budget Intimidation

David Gilesa year ago

“Jim Ashe is the architect of the problems inherited by the current administration.”


In case you missed our main point here, it’s that DGiles is a specialist in ad-hominem attacks.  Some might find it unseemly for town officials to engage in such rude behavior.  We don’t. 

We think its worse than that.  But our town has a long and distinguished record in such matters, especially when it comes to browbeating opponents to the ordained town agenda promulgated from the seat of power.

While we don’t think DGiles ‘just graduated,’ we’re fond of this graphic, so we’re including it:


Actually, judging from his behavior, DGiles could well be in school with the rest of the gnarly teenagers.

But this may actually be a better likeness:


Or maybe this, which who knows, he might have ‘sexted’ to some classmates, a’la Carlos Danger:


One more thing; we think it’s important to note that DGiles has been a key player in the Amtrak MLF proposal getting this far, via his role on the Planning Board of Appeals.  As proof, we’ve posted the decision sheet from April 21, 2011, in which he voted with three others to approve a zoning variance for NNEPRA. 

We understand that the specifics of the building footprint have changed since that approval, and that a number of other ‘anomalies’ applied to this action.  The variance request was to increase the building footprint from the permitted 20,000 sq. ft. to 39,560 sq ft.  Now the footprint is at 50,530 sq. ft, or 11,000 more than the number approved two years ago.

We may have more on these details later.  For now, an objective reading of the ‘variance criteria’ would suggest a completely bogus vote.

Specifically, Item 1: the land in question will not yield a ‘reasonable return’.  Item 2: the property circumstances are not unique, and the neighborhood conditions are.  Item 3: The granting of the variance will most certainly alter the essential character of the location.  Item 4: hardship?  What hardship?

Crockus maximus, as they say in Latin.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

“Classical” Education: what is it?

What you are about to read will no doubt create controversy as to whether Christian values have a place in the modern-day education of ‘the children.’

Fine.  But don’t let that distract you from the point about ‘classical’ subject matter.

The material we present here was passed along by someone we know in another state who sends their children to a private school affiliated with a Christian Church.  The full account of that schools’ theory of education can be found here:

We are posting most of it here because we find it an amazing summary of what education is supposed to be about.  And we can’t help but wonder what our government school system espouses in the same regard. 

We’ll leave you to puzzle what Brunswick’s ‘children’ are getting for an average cost of $15,000 per year per student.  The private school referenced here charges in the range of $6,000 to $8,000 a year, depending on the grade level.  Or about half the price we pay in Brunswick, where we have “the very best schools and the very best teachers.”  At least according to Sally Sellit and the Mommy Mafia.

Here’s the description from this private school:

What is Classical Christian Education?

Classical education belongs to the traditional and enduring stream of education started by the Greeks and Romans, developed by the Church through the centuries, and renewed by contemporary educators.  Infused with the liberal arts and sciences, classical education includes the language arts of the trivium - grammar, logic, and rhetoric - and the quantitative arts of the quadrivium - mathematics, science, music, and visual arts. 


Students study great works of literature and art, both old and new, by methods best suited to their developmental stages.  As participants in the great conversation of history's finest thinkers, students acquire more than vocational skills; they prepare for their roles as informed citizens, thinking Christians, and virtuous shapers of culture.

Classical education was widely embraced in the English-speaking world until the early 20th century, when experiments with alternative forms of education began.  The past thirty years have witnessed a resurgence in classical education across the country and a recognition of its proven excellence in preparing young people for college - and more importantly - for life.

The classical method has an ancient pedigree and is based on a three-stage model known as the Trivium, which organizes learning around the maturing capacity of a child's mind.  In the Grammar stage, the focus is on acquiring the building blocks of information; students begin to think more analytically in the Logic stage; and learn to write and speak with force and originality in the Rhetoric stage.  Although there are elements of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric in all of the stages, the primary focus of each stage is shown below.

(The table included in their material would not post here in a direct form; so you’ll have to click on the link we provided to see it as originally presented in their material.)

Grammar Stage (Kindergarten - 5th Grade)

Students learn the grammar - the fundamental rules and data - of each subject area.  They learn how to read and write well, master basic mathematics, explore history chronologically from ancient to modern times, and marvel at God's design of plants, animals, and the human body.  Naturally drawn to chants, songs, and rhythmic verse, students at this level can learn an enormous amount of information, much of which is retained for a lifetime. 

Learning opportunities are enhanced by taking advantage of the natural ability of young children to absorb information.  In third grade, students begin their study of Latin, which is essential to a fundamental understanding of English, history, and great literature.

Logic Stage (6th Grade - 8th Grade)

Early adolescent children have a tendency to contradict and argue.  Their ability to draw conclusions on the basis of facts begins to develop.  Building on these abilities, Socratic methods of teaching foster inquiry, discussion, and debate, with an emphasis on reason and analysis. 

During these years, students study formal logic and begin to apply logic to all subject areas.  Students learn to think clearly, to synthesize information across subject areas, and to debate in a respectful manner.

Rhetoric Stage (9th Grade - 12th Grade)


Capitalizing on a high school student’s need for independence and self-expression, skills are developed in applying and effectively communicating one's knowledge and understanding of a subject. Students study classical rhetoric - the art of using language effectively and persuasively - and apply their rhetorical skills to all subject areas. 

Rhetorical training gives students the ability to persuade logically and passionately with integrity, and equips them to not only respond to our culture, but to actively engage and influence it.


Throughout all stages, we strive to help students develop a genuine love for learning and the desire to be life-long learners. We are committed to helping them learn to live as committed Christians in their various callings.  All subjects are integrated and taught in light of a Biblical worldview, the lens through which all of life's experiences are seen and understood.  We believe that an educational approach which confines faith to Bible class and chapel has already given up what lies at the heart of a Christian worldview.  Through the integration of life and faith, Trinity Christian School students develop a thoroughly Biblical/Christian worldview and are prepared to be tomorrow's leaders, engaging the culture for Christ.

Most of the terminology used above was new to us, though we always felt we had a pretty good public education.  Given our age, it was based on the prevailing theory of the 40’s and 50’s.  We didn’t take Latin, for example, until 9th and 10th grade, when it was tough enough.  Could it be easier if you start on it in 3rd grade????

We hope you find this to be food for thought, Christian influences or not.  And that you think long and hard about the subject before the next budget cycle, when the pressure to spend several more million on annual operating budgets, and $25-50 million on new school buildings becomes unbearable.


We needn’t mention that the ruling elites have their own view of this discussion.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Poor Bowdoin, endowments, and taxes….

Little more than a week ago, we posted on the subject of Bowdoin’s endowment growth and their non-profit status, which we have opined on a number of times in the past.

Shortly thereafter, a loyal reader, or more correctly, a field correspondent, passed along a link to a related article.  Ever curious, he found it on Bloomberg.  The title is “Princeton Drug Royalties Spark Suit Over Tax Exemption,” and the link is this.

You will find it interesting, and we trust that Bowdoin administration does as well.  When you read it, you’ll see just how far so-called ‘non-profit’ institutions stretch the limits of ‘serving the public good.’

Here’s a sample passage:

Princeton “welcomes the opportunity to develop the facts and address the issues,” said Martin Mbugua, a spokesman. It seeks “to serve the public good through programs of teaching and research, and the purpose of tax exemption is to allow the university to devote its resources to this mission,” he said. “We have every confidence that the court will uphold our tax exemption.”

As we’ve suggested before, if we didn’t have to pay taxes, we’d be able to devote far more resources to our mission of spending our discretionary dollars locally, thereby serving ‘the public good.’

In the reading, you’ll also begin to understand just how much income google is deriving from all of us.  The numbers are staggering, in case you wondered.  Which only makes us all the more reluctant to sign up for or join any service google provides, though we’re pretty well convinced they’re making money off us whether we know about it or not. 

Don’t look now, but blogspot, on which this journal publishes, belongs to google!  It’s gotten to where you can’t do ANYTHING on the internet without paying cash tribute to them, and providing them personal data of one form or another.

They even make money off the tin foil sold to make those hats to protect us from them.  And we wouldn’t be surprised if they have a stake in the MLF proposed by Amtrak.

And a joint venture arrangement with those crazy kids over at Train Riders Northeast.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Boys Will Be Boys: Train Riders Northeast

In our post last night following the meeting in which NNEPRA conducted a ‘public hearing’ on the Environmental Assessment related to the proposed MLF, we made this comment about the Train Riders Northeast reps and their comments at the meeting:

Call us cynical, but in our view, TRN is a bunch of grown ups who were deprived of expansive model train layouts in their  youth, and have decided that taxpayers should provide them with full-scale, life-sized train systems to make up for the deprivations of their youth.

Their position, articulated by three speakers, seemed to us to be well choreographed, if a bit naked in its intent.

Today, we decided to do a bit more research into their organization, without addressing their ‘non-profit’ status and related political activities.

Instead, we wondered if we would find any insight to their unconditional support of Amtrak passenger service, and in particular, their devotion to seeing the MLF built in the Bouchard Drive neighborhood.

We have a very long way to go in mining the public record of the organization.   In our first steps, though, we found this  document:

TRN newsletter of 2004

The lead article on the first page is “WHY WE LIKE TRAINS.”

This column is a treasure trove of specious reasoning, duplicity, and sanctimony that begs for detailed attention.  We hope that we are up to the challenge in the coming days.

For now, we think the closing paragraph says more than they might have realized vis-à-vis the current debate.  It ends with words expressing this indictment of those they view as their opposition: “indifference toward

‘the integrity of the land and any desire to promote sensible, humane economic growth.’

It takes one heaping truckload of chutzpah to get up in front of a public hearing on the subject of Amtrak and the proposed MLF location while simultaneously embracing such characterizations.  Best we can discern, the last thing they prioritize is ‘humane economic growth.’

This discovery only adds to our opening suspicion about TRN.  They may well set a new standard for propaganda here in Maine, where  honesty and straight talk was once revered.


Not that anyone could tell anymore.

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Apocalypse Now: The Brunswick Sequel

Remember this famous scene?


As we told you in our post last night, we left the NNEPRA meeting at the Brunswick council chambers with a fresh coating of diesel engine fumes in our nose, on our lips, and in our mouth.  And it only took a few minutes after a diesel engine arrived just outside for the fumes to work their magic and infuse themselves into our very being.

We’re not at all pleased to tell you that 12 hours later, we awoke with the lovely essence of the fumes still intact in our nasal and oral areas.

If only those who think the MLF is perfectly fine along Bouchard Drive could have the same experience, perhaps they might see things differently.  Frankly, we think the next meeting on this subject should be held somewhere within 100 ft of an idling diesel engine to add some real personal experience to the discussion.

And if we could find a way to bottle the fumes, we’d like to see them dispersed into the Banquet Room where Train Riders Northeast will be holding their gala 25th anniversary banquet in Portland.  They should revel in the realism, we would think.

We’re puzzled as to why they aren’t holding the gala in a lovely tent right next to a functioning Amtrak station, complete with real diesel engines humming away.  If they’re so in love with the Amtrak concept, shouldn’t they want the objects of their affection as a backdrop to the bloviating that is sure to take place?

Given our newfound understanding of just how memorable nearby diesel engines can be, we suggest that the town consider renaming Bouchard Drive to Diesel Fumes Lane.  If it takes a petition to do so, lets ask Train Riders Northeast to lead the way in collecting signatures.


For those of you who think the previous images are a bit harsh, how about this one:


Here in Brunswick, you see, a cute little puddy tat and some flowers can make just about any medicine go down OK.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Riding the Kool-Aid Train, compliments of NNEPRA

We had a remarkably ‘sensuous’ experience tonight, and we feel compelled to share it with you.

It stems from a meeting we attended at Brunswick town council chambers in the Maine Street Station building.  The meeting was ostensibly a ‘public hearing’ to allow any and all to comment on the “EA” (Environmental Assessment) promulgated by NNEPRA.


Specifically, on the issue of where the proposed Amtrak Maintenance and Layover Facility should be located.  And whether a far more rigorous EIS (Environmental Impact Study) is warranted before committing to construction at the ‘Brunswick West’ location, which is adjacent to the Bouchard Drive neighborhood.

But before we get to our full report, we want to post two ‘64 dollar questions:’


1)  Can anyone make the case that the disappearance of passenger train service from the landscape many years ago due to economic unsustainability was unwarranted and is worthy of being reversed?


2) Can anyone argue that passenger trains, especially as represented by the Amtrak Downeaster, can provide flexibility and economy of  service that exceeds that offered by bus service like that operated by Concord Trailways?

While you think about those points. let’s get back to our coverage of the meeting.

Council chambers were essentially filled to capacity, whatever that is.  And the experience of testifying at the meeting was at least as satisfying as testifying before the Brunswick town council.  NNEPRA consultants asserted that all questions and comments raised by the public would be responded to in writing.

That said, speaking before the assembled officials was equivalent to talking to a storm drain.  Or the storm drain’s consultants.

Before we go much further on our report, we’ll summarize some of the highlights.

  • Senator Stan Gerzosfky, much to his credit, took great pains to ‘walk back’ from earlier statements he had made about ‘the process.’  He didn’t vote for us, and we didn’t vote for him.  We weren’t on the ballot, but no matter.  As we see it, Senator Stan was a champion of his constituents tonight.  So, good for him. And we told him so.
  • We noticed Mr. Sartoris, Councilor Perreault, Councilor Brayman, and former chair Daughtry caucusing in the back of the room.  We have no idea what they were cooking up, but we doubt it will be something we’ll be happy about.
  • Curious as it may seem, about an hour into the meeting, a diesel engine parked itself right outside the meeting room, located in Maine Street Station.  Within mere minutes, any honest attendee at the meeting will tell you they felt the vibrations, heard the noise, and sensed the diesel fumes both nasally and orally.

That’s what we mean by a ‘sensuous experience,’ even though you thought we’d be riffing on ‘50 shades of Brunswick.’  The sensations were immediate and profound.  Hours later, we’re still smelling and tasting the fumes.

We decided to check in at the nearby restaurants when the meeting was over, shortly after 7pm.  We asked the bartender at Scarlet Begonia’s whether she noticed the fumes, and she said ‘not really.’  She was standing about 6 feet from a ventilation hood that could suck the paint off most locomotives, but so what.

So we moved next door to Byrnes Irish Pub and asked the same question.  Before the bartender could give us a detailed answer, two people at the bar said yes, they could notice the fumes.

We’ll leave it to you to decide whether diesel fumes, noise, and vibrations add to the unique experience of in town Brunswick dining.

Back to the meeting.  Train Riders Northeast ( was represented by two distinguished looking gentlemen.  Both spoke; one was Wayne Davis, Chair of the Board of Directors of the group.  The organization, by the way, is reportedly a 501(c)3 non-profit, meaning they are tax exempt, and not allowed to engage in lobbying efforts of a political sort.

Here are some words from their web site:

TRN believes that only a strong membership association can convince local and federal governments to take a fresh look at passenger trains.

We work with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels of government, consumers, rail companies and unions for a coordinated approach to achieving shared goals.

(Ed note: emphasis above is ours)

We’ll let you decide whether those activities amount to lobbying.  That aside, we don’t know where TRN is coming from.  As we hinted above, we don’t see any social or economic rationale for passenger train service of the sort being discussed here.

Davis asserted that the Downeaster ‘is an amazing train.’  We don’t know what the hell that is supposed to mean, because as best we can tell, it is composed of passenger cars and locomotives just like lots of other Amtrak trains.

Call us cynical, but in our view, TRN is a bunch of grown ups who were deprived of expansive model train layouts in their  youth, and have decided that taxpayers should provide them with full-scale, life-sized train systems to make up for the deprivations of their youth.


If they disagree, let them make the economic case for passenger trains by responding to the questions we posed earlier.

Now to the relevant arguments about MLF location.

Reports are that Parsons-Brinkerhoff, the consultants hired by NNEPRA to study alternatives for locating the MLF, came up with four reasons why the Bouchard neighborhood (Brunswick West) location was the preferred choice:

  • cost effectiveness
  • historic usage
  • availability of the property
  • proximity to Maine Street Station

Let’s address these points.

Cost effectiveness:

If anyone cared about cost and/or cost effectiveness, we wouldn’t have Amtrak to begin with.  Only government and their consultants can conclude that throwing money down a rat hole forever is ‘cost effective.’

We spent $35 million we didn’t have to improve the tracks between Brunswick and Portland; we’re about to spend $15 million more that we don’t have to build an MLF.

If we cared about cost and cost effectiveness, we’d throw Amtrak and passenger trains in general in the ash-pile of history where they belong, instead of trying to resurrect them from their grave.  As it is, taxpayers are forced to subsidize the service in perpetuity, effectively giving a cash gift to everyone who rides the train.

NNEPRA would never have been created, at least as a passenger rail agency, which makes them a solution looking for a problem, leveraging other people’s money.  At the very least, or worst, they would be examining all forms of transit.  And their claim that the Downeaster is a major reducer in traffic burdens on 295 is a joke, and a bad one at that.

Historic Usage:

If prior/historic usage was important to this town, we’d still have a Municipal Building on downtown Maine Street.  This is one of those selectively applied priorities; great when it serves the larger agenda, irrelevant when it doesn’t.

And the People Plus Center would still be on Maine Street, instead of having been torn down so an out of town developer/FOB could build an inn with the benefit of tax incentives to compete with other inns in town.

Availability of the Property:

This is another canard.   The Crooker Property (‘Brunswick East’) is surely available; if not, let someone prove it.

More so, the possibility of locating the MLF on ‘Brunswick Landing’ as part of a larger multi-modal facility is clearly doable and in the larger public interest.  And leaves established in-town neighborhoods as they are.

Proximity to Maine Street Station:

Oh, please; are they serious?  What difference does it make if the MLF is a half mile, a mile, two miles, of ten miles from the station?  If being close was so important, why not put it in the Park & Ride location on Cedar Street, just west of Union Street?

When we mentioned this at the meeting tonight, a lady in attendance tapped us on the shoulder, and said ‘I live on Cedar Street, and I don’t want it there!’

What a surprise!  Who’d have guessed.


We’re pretty much spent on the subject for tonight, so we’re going to push the ‘publish’ button.  And we’ll file this report in the relatively new ‘goat rope’ folder we created just recently.

As we settle in for a fall night’s sleep, we’ll ponder whether there is any way to parlay the Amtrak debacle into a daily double winner with the Kestral boon to our local economy.

Hell, we’re gambling with other people’s money, so what have we got to lose?

Except our integrity and a few other incidentals, that is.

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PS on Kestrel & Klapmeier


We were just out mowing the west 40 on this grand fall day when we had an afterthought on the post of earlier today.  It fits perfectly with our reputation for clear hindsight and non-judgmental cynicism.

Since the early Kestrel investment need for $100 million was to bring the new plane design to market, Klapmeier cannot blame his ‘cash-flow’ problems on ‘lackluster sales due to the weak economy,’ or ‘unexpectedly high material and production costs.’

And now he needs another $125 million to make it to market.  At least for now.

No, the kulprit here is Klapmeier himself and his incompetence in constructing the non-recurring cost model for bringing the design to market, and the creation of a valid business case for doing so.

Throw in the obviously flawed ‘due diligence’ performed by the MRRA and the authorities in Superior, Wisconsin, and you have the classic synergism of a technical genius with no business smarts, and government officials willing to bend over backwards with the public trust to encourage good intentions, no matter where they may lead.

Either that, or lots of wool being pulled over the right eyes.

Or, in the worst case, maybe both.

Remember Johnny Protocols and the ‘no less than a dozen Fortune 500 companies’ he was courting, who all seemed to disappear into thin air?  Maybe their protocol was disappearing, because they were never there in the first place.

Which makes disappearing ever so much easier.

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Kalling the BDC! Kestrel & Klapmeier Kould Use Some Kash (we mean a loan….)

We hope the BDC has lots of koin left in it’s koffers.  You know the BDC – the Brunswick Development Corporation – on which Johnny Protocols is focusing like a lawsyer.  Hard to pronounce, but that’s a combining form of lawyer and laser.  And JP wants to bring them to an even higher level of superior service to the public interest.

The reason we bring this up is because there is disturbing news on the street this morning.  Just the sort of thing that the BDC loves to engage in remedying, using that money of theirs that, you know, isn’t public, but isn’t private either.  For lack of a better term, it’s municipal government squish money.  Or maybe slush money would be better, since it reminds one of ‘slush funds.’

A friend passed along this BDN article link this morning.  Shortly thereafter, another friend passed along this Mainebiz link, which refers to the BDN article.

You might recall that we posted on Klapmeier and Kestrel in the past, and you can review those efforts here.  We invite Johnny Protocols to do so in particular, though he might find the essays driven by ‘personal and political’ agendas, which is the filter he views everything through.  Well, mostly everything.

Our reporting included this now classic, and even prophetic passage:

Because one of the bitter disappointments of the golden years is finding out just how gullible one has been, and almost always learning that lesson via government, politicians, and the myriad parasites and cronies that love to rub shoulders with them while picking the publics’ pockets.

Our earlier reporting included the photo at the top, which we remarked shows a total disregard for the flight patterns at BNAS.  The plane is going crosswise to the runways.  Perhaps we should all have seen that as a harbinger of what was to come.

We thought as we studied the Kestrel news back then that the business case didn’t make much sense or hold much water.  They were planning on selling the planes at $3 million each as we recall.  And if you had a generous mark-up of $250,000 on each, that would take selling 400 planes as an absolute minimum to recoup an initial investment of $100 million, with no return at all on that money, and no money to pay for a damn thing, including any labor.

But what do we know?  We’re not in the aviation business; we just deal in flights of fancy and idiocy.  So we didn’t think to do a business case analysis.  Maybe Scott Howard did; can someone contact him?

Which makes the current dilemma Kestrel finds itself in a perfect match for the BDC, which doesn’t seem to dwell on business cases either.  You might recall as well that BDC recently gave MRRA a grant of $250,000 to help in its ‘economic development.’

So let’s get to the essence of the current news:

Kestrel CEO Alan Klapmeier confirmed Wednesday that his startup company is behind on rent payments, has been late with paychecks and that Kestrel employees in Brunswick are currently without health, life and dental insurance after the company failed to pay premiums.

You really should read the rest of the BDN article….it’s breathtaking, actually.  A horror story, we would think. 

It includes this bombshell:

At an aviation industry conference in late July, Klapmeier said the company needs to raise $125 million to see the aircraft through FAA certification, according to Aviation International News.

He needs another $125 freakin’ million dollars before he can sell a single one?  Wow!  Sounds like a really solid investment to us.  At least for BDC, which really prefers to give money away anyhow.


All we can say is that it’s a damn good thing no one else makes a single engine private aircraft.  The sooner Klapmeier gets to market, the sooner that glaring deficiency will be corrected.

And the sooner we can all start rolling in the economic growth, or whatever else is covering the local pastures.

By the way, has anyone seen Jim Horowitz lately?  Is he still hanging out with FLee Bailey?  We’re just wondrin’.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Falling In Love With Great Music All Over Again


This post, admittedly a departure from our normal pattern, stems from an unusual turn of events.  And it’s only fair that we tell you about it, so you won’t lie awake at night wondering.

A little more than a year ago, we decided to replace our 13 year old ‘family truckster.’  We did so with a virtual clone of the same model, 13 model years newer.

One of the goodies that came with the new truckster is a very nice, integrated audio system.  It allows Bluetooth cell phone connection for hands free use through the radio.  This is pretty cool, actually, especially since it allows voice activated call placement, like ‘call home.’  It recognizes the command, and dials the number.

It also has a USB port so you can plug in a thumb drive or other device to listen to your own music.  This feature caused us to gather up a goodly number of our favorite CD’s, combining a variety of music genres, to copy onto a very inexpensive thumb drive.  This was quite easy to do using our laptop.

Long story long, this caused us to change our listening habits on longer drives.  More specifically, we got back in touch with the “Great American Songbook.”  These are the classic tunes written by our greatest composers and typically sung by the likes of Sinatra, Bennett, Crosby, Astaire and other top entertainers, and often recorded by jazz greats like Shirley Horne, Diana Krall, and numerous others.  The great jazz instrumentalists like Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, and John Coltrane have also ‘riffed on’ the melodies to stunning effect.

Beyonce?  Kanye?  Miley and her twerking?  Hip-hop?  They aren’t ‘music;’ they aren’t ‘entertainment.’  They are, in most ways, the complete opposite, and a substitute for the lack of genius that was once part of the American cultural fabric.

How sad for us.  And for our children and their children.

All of the above stimulated us to tell you about a few related items, so here you go.

“Easy to Remember”


Our fascination with the great songs led us to look for something to read about the great composers, and we found this book: Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs.  You’ll find the details here.  It’ll cost you $12 bucks or so, and is well worth it.

We devoured ours, as it covers numerous composers/lyricists in a series of very short chapters, and also gives some great insights into the craft of songwriting.  It also covered most of the great Hollywood and Broadway musical composers.

We loved the book, and highly recommend it.



This is a movie we’ve owned for a while.  You can find it here.

We absolutely love it; it has great performances, and it’s magical to watch the tunes and words of the great Cole Porter songs being created.  It also gives you some sense of the class and style of a bygone era.

Again, we highly recommend it, but with a warning.  It’s not suitable for the young, as Cole Porter was very ‘confused’ about a most important aspect of his self-identity.  We were able to overlook this because of the sheer musicality and beauty of the production.


We were fortunate to see this musical at the MSMT this summer, and it was spectacular, and among the very best we’ve seen there in more than 15 years of season tickets.  Charis Leos (hope we spelled that right) seemed born to the role, the same way Ethel Merman was in originating it on Broadway.


Rosalind Russell stars in the movie version, which is very, very good, but this is one of those shows that seeing in person is pure magic.  At least it was for us.


This is the “musicalized” version of the movie/play “Auntie Mame.”  We were fortunate to have seen Angela Lansbury perform in the role she created when the Broadway tour came to Los Angeles many, many years ago. (more than 40!)

The movie Auntie Mame, staring Rosalind Russell, is very, very good, but obviously doesn’t have the music.  Watching it, however, provides context for the original cast recording of the musical.


Listening to this recording is, for us, a revelation.  First, the melodies are beyond memorable…many are ‘ear-worms,’ just like many of the tunes from Gypsy.  Second, the lyrics are smart, witty, sophisticated, and a spectacular achievement by Jerry Herman, who also wrote the music.  We are immensely jealous of the talent on display.  How we wish we could have words and tunes like these flow from our fingertips….what a gift such composers have.

Even more, if you listen to Gypsy and Mame carefully, you can see just how important the orchestration and arrangements can be in magnifying the grand nature of the melodies and lyrics.  If you buy the latest version of the Mame CD, you’ll get bonus tracks of the composer, Jerry Herman, recording a ‘demo’ for his score, along with a talented songstress on some numbers.

It’s pure musical delight, instead of frightful music.

At least if you like delightful music.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  And treat your kids and grandkids to it as a way of passing along the great talents and achievements of the past. 

We’re thrilled to watch our ‘grands’ develop an appreciation for the supremely ‘singable’ tunes and musical scores.  It’s great fun to sing the songs along with them, not a good voice in the crowd, but the beauty of the music overcoming those little shortcomings.