Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oh! For the want of a thought!

This is how my brain works.  On steroids!
Photo: Claudia Christian
It's just one of those mornings, when the world seems awry,
time to take off for coffee, and to partially say goodbye.
It's not that I don't want to be here, to share some profound thought;
it's just that I ain't got one.  I'm afraid it's all gone for naught.
Maybe by tomorrow I can give it a very good try,
so if you wanted something. You can help. Give my brain a goodbye!

Friday, January 24, 2014

See some seals live on camera

Seal Island off the coast of Rockland, Maine indicated by the letter A
Source: Google maps
  Out on Seal Island there are, surprise, a lot of seals.  Seals large and small, nursing mothers and little ones that are still white.
  There is a live video feed every day from 10:00AM until 4:00PM, and you can watch the daily loop anytime I think (that may not be fact).
  See it for yourself here:

  The ice loaded in Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor remains but the danger of flooding has been stopped by the U S Coast Guard.  They came up, from Rockland, with the vessels Bridle and Tackle, and broke the ice on the Penobscot River which eased the jam on the Stream.
Working as a team!
Photo: Gabor Degre, Bangor Daily News.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bits and pieces

Nothing here I guess
  I've had a busy week so far with days full of taking people places or waiting for something or someone, it's what I do.  It's not left me with enough time to research things for this blog.
  A reader who I won't name (his first initial is Wilbur) asked for information on Charter Schools, I will get to that next.  Maine has only had those schools for two or three years and there aren't many but two that I like in particular.
  The new computer is sitting unused now, I've purchased Windows 7 and will have that installed, 8 and 8.1 are not a likeable interface for us.  The computer itself is nice it's faster and has more storage that will go unused.
  So I'm getting ready now (it's 3:15AM) to leave and be gone until 2:00PM, just another geezer day.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What password? It's my birthday!

I am sure we've all got passwords for this, for that, for all kinds of stuff.  I do have my share of them.  The most common password this year for the American public is?  It's 123456.  Pretty simple, hell no body would be able to guess that!  In second place? password.  Other favorites are abc123, qwerty and birthdates.
Lets gear up just a little, use upper case and lower case letter, use a number or two and some symbols.  How about vw2$Tacoma_1959 or 91913130Y, or something like that?  There are clues here for two of my readers.  Try some of you own inventions.
Well, how in the heck am I supposed to remember all of that stuff?  My security software Norton 360, let's me store the passwords safely, and there are other programs that let password be stored in a safe way, or list them and keep them under lock and key in a separate place.
for more information.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We are failing

Photo: David Mdzinarishvli
  The United States lags behind Vietnam and Latvia among more developed countries in what our children are learning in school.  Even the way we teach gifted children is lacking.
  As an example one teacher took more advanced students aside and asked them to do more work than their classmates; but as one of those students explained "...I'd rather be doing the more advanced work with other students, not just by myself".
  We have a host of gifted students just getting by, or failing, because we fail to challenge them as a group most of the time.  Maine has one school just for these kids the Maine School of Mathematics and Science is located in Limestone - and those students love it.  But I don't think we're doing enough.  These are the students that will be our leaders when they're older.  We could do more.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Snowy Owl number 99906

99906 at rest - click to enlarge
Photo: Bob Duchesne to Bangor Daily News
The travels of 99906 as recorded - click to enlarge
Photo: Bob Duchesne
  Snowy Owls have been abundant this winter here in the lower 48.  An excellent breeding season and the lack of food in their native Canadian tundra are the reasons.
  99906 was caught at Logan Airport in Boston and release with a transmitter so the bird was tracked on it's travels.
  Snowy Owls have been widespread this year, one was seen in Hawaii and one even flew to Bermuda.  The dangers most of them face are at airports.  Being a danger to aircraft they are shot.  The airport looks familiar to the tundra dwellers, they look like home and a place to hunt.  A number have been shot, but attempts to trap or discourage them are tried first.  More of the story can be found here:

Here is a peek at my latest painting.
Cardinals - click to enlarge

Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's tax time, for most of us

Wal-Mart pays the fifth largest amount of corporate taxes
The Hartford Financial Services pays the fifth least amount of tax
  You hear a lot of rumors if you pay attention to who pay what and how much in corporate taxes.  I've heard Wal-Mart, General Electric and some oil companies take a hit for being cheap.  In truth those companies are amount the highest payers of taxes.  Do they get some tax rebates too, yes.  Should they get tax rebates, maybe; some are reasonable, some not so much.
  Let's look at some sample numbers: Wal-Mart had $15.7 billion earnings before taxes, they paid $8 billion in local, county, state and federal taxes; almost 51%.  Apple, who most recently was rumored to be very bad, had before tax earnings of $50.2 billion and paid $13.1 in various taxes; that's 26%, they paid the third highest amount of federal taxes.
  How 'bout some "deadbeats"? Bank of America had $3.1 billion in earnings before taxes, they received tax breaks of $1.1 billion (money refunded), but they did pay local or country real estate taxes unless breaks were granted for those too.  AMR (American Airlines) Loss before taxes of -$2.4 billion dollars, and they received a break of $569 million.  Airlines have been hard hit by fuel costs, and usually receive government help.  They do, of course, pay income, social security and Medicare taxes.