Monday, November 03, 2014

Maine Things

A pack of coyotes lives near our Lovell, Maine home. Sometimes they wake me up at night with their howling, especially when they’re right under our 2nd floor bedroom window. I can get right back to sleep though and the sound doesn’t disturb me. Yet if I’m woken by dogs barking outside the house next door, I can’t. Their barking bothers me and I’ve wondered why. It has something do with the coyotes being wild and hunting for a meal. When they’ve killed whatever they’re after and eaten their fill, they quiet down. Dogs, however, bark because they’re neurotic and discontented. They go on incessantly with little purpose but to spread their neurosis and discontent. That annoys me.
I hear noises at night outside our South Portland, Maine house too. Being close to the city, there’s a low-level hum that never stops. It’s like white noise though and it doesn’t disturb me. There’s a far-off train whistle I find charming, and I hear tooting from Casco Bay Lines’ ferries as they sound their horns when leaving their Portland harbor terminal on their way to various islands. Those sounds charm me too, and so do fog horns from Cape Elizabeth. Ever-present sirens are part of the urban milieu. They’re not charming, but not too disturbing either unless they’re on our street. Then I want to know what’s happening - not usually enough to put my pants on and actually go outside to look, however.
Elvis and his owners

Feathers are ruffled over in neighboring Cape Elizabeth lately. A rooster named “Elvis” is crowing too much for some neighbors. There’s a huge population of green weenies in Maine’s most affluent town, so there are lots of “Vote Yes on Question 1” to outlaw bear-baiting signs. But the Cape’s animal lovers are conflicted. The town is considering an ordinance prohibiting roosters on lots smaller than 40,000 square feet - about one acre. Presumably, Elvis’s owners live on a lot smaller than that, and if the ordinance passes later this fall, Elvis’s goose may be cooked.
King Julian
We had chickens when my kids were little, including a few roosters, and they crowed often - until we ate them, that is. We had neighbors close by, but none complained. Maybe that was because we invited them over for dinner whenever we cooked one. Those roosters were delicious - best chicken I ever ate. My granddaughters over in Sweden, Maine have a rooster they named “King Julian, and they asked their mother why King Julian is always jumping on the hens. “He likes to wrestle,” she told them. Being three and five years old, that explanation has satisfied them so far.
Claire 5 and Lila 3 play on their dirt pile

Maine’s news has been dominated lately by a vocal nurse who says she doesn’t need to be quarantined after returning from a month-long stint working with Ebola patients in West Africa. People are conflicted about her too. They admire that she went to help people with a dangerous disease, but they wonder why she insists medical quarantine guidelines are too restrictive and bad science. People in Maine are also confused by ever-changing federal government reports about what is safe and what isn’t. The Pentagon quarantines soldiers who do not have contact with infected patients for three weeks, but the CDC says Traci Hickox, who did have contact with infected patients, doesn’t have to be. Until last week, the CDC’s web site said: “Droplet spread happens when [Ebola] germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person.” Then that disappeared from the CDC web site.
Is Ebola a political issue this election season? Many suspect Obama’s CDC of putting politics before science. Nurse Hickox is a leftist Obama supporter. She also worked for the CDC, but mysteriously scrubbed that from her Linked-in profile when she challenged Governor Christie’s quarantine. Why? Democrats running our government insist that fear shouldn’t influence decisions about Ebola, and smugly claim they’re relying strictly on science. But what about their global warming campaign. For that it’s okay to use fear. Unless we switch to windmills and solar panels, polar bears will all die! Coastal cities will be flooded! The planet will boil! It’s all “settled science,” they insist. But it’s based on flawed computer projections: There’s been no predicted warming for twenty years. Ice caps and glaciers that were supposed to be gone by now are expanding. Mainers would like some global warming after last winter.
Fear is used for pipelines too. Greenie Democrats around here want marijuana pipes legal, but oil and natural gas pipes outlawed, including the local Portland Pipeline. Though it’s been moving oil safely for three generations, they’re apoplectic about reversing its flow. Study after study shows the proposed Keystone Pipeline would be harmless, but Greenie Democrats insist on studying it until they find something fearful to scream about.


adab said...

Another enjoyable potpourri of thoughts, Tom. Thanks. One of my favorite elements of the Maine soundscape are the loons. They are usually distant from our camp on McWain Pond in Waterford -- but when they're close by, they can be downright loud. Either way -- it's a singular experience to hear them. We used to hear the cows mooing far down and across the lake, but Mr. Sanderson sold his herd last year, and I miss that. I fear we'll never hear them again. Soundscapes tend to be ignored or unnoticed -- thanks for bringing them to our attention this week!

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Alex said...

Well, Ebola panic certainly gave a push to certain political parties this midterm season. 8/9 patients cured in the US, and the one who didn't survive was already quite sick when he started treatment.

Average American said...

Nice, quiet, almost nonpolitical post. Refreshing, thank you, and happy Veterans Day.


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Tom McLaughlin said...