Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Conflict of visions (2); “no-brainers;” and other random thoughts from a past Father’s Day…

A Conflict of “Identifying With” Visions

                   Image result for rachel dolezal

The cultural mantra of the 60’s and beyond was ‘if it feels, good do it.’  Nowadays, it seems to have become ‘if it stomps on reality, become it.’

Post-modernism?  We understand it’s premise is ‘there is no such thing as objective truth.’  Noted columnist and Brunswick resident Eddie Beem has used this argument a number of times to undergird his premises.
Now we’re moving beyond that to Post-realism;  ‘there is no such thing as objective fact.’

Rachel Dolezal ‘self-identified with African Americans (blacks?),’ so she ‘became one,’ and even married a black man and had two children with him.  Since her ‘race expression’ was black, there was nothing odd or interracial about her marriage as she saw it.  She was a black marrying another black.

They have since divorced.  Which led us to wonder if he married her because he ‘self-identified’ with whites, and therefore thought of himself as one, and so he was a Caucasian marrying another Caucasian. 
Do you suppose they could have gotten divorced because each discovered they were trying to cross-self-identify with the reality that the other was trying to deny?

Was this simply a “Conflict of Visions?”  A cacophony of ‘self identities?’

We can’t help but wonder how the kids they brought into the world are supposed to view themselves.  How should they ‘self-identify’ in this new era of trans-racialism?  Especially since they have parents of two different races, real or imagined, that are dissonant, to say the very least.

Talk about growing up confused, and feeling a need to go off to ‘find yourself.’  Isn’t life challenging enough without having to grapple with totally unnecessary burdens like this?

Remember the jingle – “sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.”  In the ‘old days,’ we could count on country music to help us sort things out – “sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.”

But that was back in the paleo-pre-post-modernism era.  And we’re way, way beyond that, unless you’re trans-chronological.  In which case, we’re way before that.  Or sideways to it.
Got it?  We’re just trying to clarify things for you.

“No brainers,” taxes, and the future of Brunswick

“That’s a no-brainer” is a term that’s been around for a long time, and have occasionally used ourselves.  If one stops to think about it, one might realize it’s ambiguous, and should be used judiciously, lest it suggest exactly the opposite of what was intended, and reflect poorly on the one who spoke it.

Especially since Brunswick has a rather undistinguished record when it comes to property acquisition, construction, stewardship, and ultimate disposition.  We think wistfully of the “Old High School;”  Jordan Acres, Longfellow, and Hawthorne Schools;  Coffin Elementary and Brunswick Junior High; the “Old Times Record Building;” the old Town Hall and the nearby Rec Center.

Now we read that in a similar fine example of real-estate stewardship, the town is planning to purchase the former Cumberland Farms Gas Station/Convenience Store property diagonally across from the new Police Headquarters.  While it was on the market for $350,000, WE are expected to pay only $250,000 for it.  The idea is to tear it down and fill it in, using the same improvement strategy that worked so well on the old TR building.

One way or another, that’s a significant piece of property removed from the tax rolls.  Not to mention capital funds depleted.  All in all, a very smart move in the minds of some.

Councilor Jane Millett, a real estate professional, was quoted thus: “This is a no-brainer to me.”  Councilor Kathy Wilson, reminding us of the TR episode , suggested the council would be “stupid not to” purchase the property.  You can take those comments as you will, and we’ll certainly do the same.  Council Vice Chair Walker noted that improving the area would be a boon to the “gateway” to the town.

Look, as long as great ideas are abundant, and tax rolls and ‘investment’ dollars are largely irrelevant in local matters, we can’t help but suggest another such acquisition for the town’s consideration.  Pictured above is a very similar property to the Cumberland Farms site.  It’s on outer Pleasant Street, and is much more of a real ‘gateway’ to Brunswick.  In fact, it’s juxtaposed between two gracious welcoming signs on the other side of the Rte 1 approach into the richest little town in America.

Surely letting this eyesore stand would be a blot on community self-esteem.  Not to mention a memorable visual overture as one enters the local area for the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and other notable attractions of our prosperous and proud town, including the mammoth Amtrak Maintenance and Layover Facility that should begin construction shortly just a few blocks further down into the ‘heart of Brunswick.’

Frank Lee, we don’t think trivial details like tax rates and capital funding limitations should be allowed to get in the way of this “no brainer” situation.  Wouldn’t it be “stupid not to” act immediately on this symbol of welcome to the throngs of big spenders coming our way?

There must be SOME WAY to enact an emergency property tax increase beyond that just approved.  ‘Imagine our future’ if we don’t.  It’s almost like having Jordan Acres as a symbol of the educational leadership excellence we’re so widely known for.

Similar opportunities abound for the imaginative and committed.  We’ll do our best to report on them once our internet access is restored.

Walker’s Advisory/Best Mitigation Committee Proposal

                                         Image result for brunswick town council meeting

Speaking of “no-brainers,” town council Vice Chair Steve Walker reportedly proposed the creation of a ‘citizens’ advisory committee’ that would, in his conception, work together to minimize the effect the Amtrak/NNEPRA Maintenance and Layover Facility would have on local residents.  He says the committee would be a “collaboration with TrainRiders (Northeast), NNEPRA, and neighbors in the area.”

Are you freakin’ kidding?  Which is sometimes abbreviated AYFK.  The last thing TrainRiders and NNEPRA have demonstrated is commitment or interest in minimizing effects on local residents.  In fact, it could be easily argued that their posture is exactly the opposite.  Unless you think a choice in paint colors ‘minimizes effects.’

Now that we think of it, maybe if they painted those raised crosswalks on Maine Street a nice restful shade of mauve, it would help reduce their jarring effects, which transcend those of nearly every frost heave we’ve ever encountered.  Though we’re pretty sure frost heaves aren’t usually installed at significant public expense as part of a ‘place-making’ campaign.

The Local Ostrich of Record

TR banner

As news junkies and intellectual elites know, the New York Times has for many a year been referred to as ‘the newspaper of record,’ whatever the hell that means.  We believe we have a number of devoted souls who simply can’t get by without their daily dose of the “Gray Lady,” withered as she’s become.  Not that the rest of us aren’t showing our age.

In a local sense, we believe a declining yet still notable number of willfully uninformed consider the Ostrich to be ‘the newspaper of record’ hereabouts.  Surely the editors do as well; how could they come to work each day if they didn’t?  (PS: when can we expect the next change ‘at the top?’)

Last Thursday eve, June 18th, there was a special joint meeting of the Brunswick Town Council and the School Board, to hear from that most objective and detached master of school architecture, Lyndon Keck of PDT, regarding the critical state of affairs regarding Brunswick school property assets.

We…ahem….wanted to be there, but other priorities interfered.  And we trusted that The Ostrich, as the news source of record, and a mid-day publication, would have someone at the meeting to give a page 1 report in Friday’s prized ‘weekend’ edition.

We gave them too much credit, and maybe you did as well.  Nothing in Friday’s paper.  We’re guessing they probably had no one at the meeting to witness it live, and apparently, assigned no one to watch it live on streaming video. 

Our Comcast cable service has been down since yesterday, so we don’t know if they finally got around to reporting on it.  Surely they could have had someone assigned to watch the meeting by Video-on-Demand once the recording was made available.

And the ‘buzz’ died down enough to take the citizenry’s attention elsewhere.

Great work, gang.  You’ve got a reputation to protect, and you’ve done that and more.

WAIT:  We’re back on the air, and we have an update.  No wonder it was kept out of the ‘paper of record.’  Now we have to figure out who ordered the story be spiked.  Could Johnny Protocols still be aspiring to the Governership of B-Town?

Fortunately, you have Other Side watching out for your interests.  Here’s a nice 100 page document that was the essence of the discussion on the 18th.
Now comes this in The Forecaster:
Are you familiar with the term “staging” as it relates to shaping the optics and public perception of a particularly ‘inconvenient’ situation?  We think this story qualifies.
                                 Capture forecaster 2 June 24
                              Capture Forecaster 1 June 24

And The Ostrich wants to be our paper of record??

Image result for seinfeld and you want to be my latex salesman

We think this is the setup for we have no choice but to build two new schools.  We’d just like to know how we could find ourselves in this catastrophic situation, without a single school administrator having been fired in disgrace, or members of the School Board resigning for allowing this to become our fate.

This is shameful, from any number of perspectives.  And the word criminal suggests itself for those who take even a dimmer view of how our elected stewards discharge their responsibilities.


Perhaps we’re over-reacting; a few letters to the Editor at the “paper of record” should suffice to right these wrongs.  No need for torches and pitchforks.
Which leads us to this next point.

Imagine Your Taxes


Those weepy “Imagine our future: Support our schools” signs invented by Brunswick Community United a few years back keep showing up in time for the annual School Budget referendum in June.  As if there’s a chance the adoring public would EVER reject a proposed School budget, and risk being labeled a teacher hater and a child abuser.

There’s about as much chance of their budget being dis-approved in the vote as there is of school properties being maintained in good working order so as to maximize their useful life to the community and those who pay for them.

We’re thinking of paraphrasing the sign’s shibboleth with one that makes more sense: “Imagine our property taxes; Invest whatever the town demands.”  Brunswick’s governing elites are operating in the post-modern era; they’re in denial of the objective truth that a breaking point exists in matters of property taxation, and that towns compete against each other.  Evidence of this is everywhere, unless you self-identify with the Fairy Godmother of endless resources.

Downeaster Service Delays

Here’s a recent ‘it’s all good’ bulletin from that most trustworthy of government agencies, the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.  You know them…they operate the much beloved and revered Downeaster passenger rail service.


It’s Almost Over!
The Tie Replacement Project of spring 2015 is winding down and is expected to be completed in early July.  Delays to Trains 680, 682, 685 and 687 can be expected to continue until all work is done, but should decrease significantly by the end of June.  These delay advisory emails will continue to be sent through the completion of the project. Beginning next Monday, June 22 (with the exception of Thursday June 25) mid-day trains 681, 683, 684 and 686 will resume between service to all stations between Dover, NH and Boston, MA. The late train out of Boston, train 689, will also resume service to all stations.
In appreciation for your patience and patronage:
Downeaster 10-Ride and Monthly Passes are
Discounted 50%
for the Month of July 2015!
Thank you for your patience – and your business!
*Note* All delay times are approximate and based on speed restrictions currently placed on the rail line and do not include unforeseen occurrences such as train interference, signal issues, or other unplanned events.  Please continue to check Train Status for exact arrival and departure information on your day of travel.
Late trains often make up time en route and may arrive earlier than expected. When trains are late, we suggest you arrive at your departure station prior to the estimated arrival or departure time.
Just so you know, the Tie-Replacement Project was originally advertised to be complete by June 15th.  We’re now at the 23rd and counting.  And for those attentive to little details, it’s no longer spring….it’s summer, though we wonder how you can tell.  We think we just read there are 7,000 more ties to be replaced, beyond the 22,000 already installed.

We find the “50% discount” offer kind of ironic, since the scheduled service has been reduced (‘discounted’) by at least that amount for a couple of months now.


Stay in step please, children.

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