Joe’s Journal

Week 31 – It’s heating up

Ramblings from an old scribbler
Wed, 10/14/2020 - 7:30am

As we mark the 31st week of hiding in our homes from COVID-19, it is a beautiful fall day. A chilly breeze ruffles the leaves as the nuthatches try to hang on to the feeder. Mums stand guard by the front steps watching over a pair of bright orange pumpkins.

Election Day is drawing near. So is Halloween.

This year reminds me of 1968, the year when I started in this crazy news business because I needed a job. There was this East Boothbay lady who said she would marry me, but she suggested it would be nice if I had some way to put groceries on the table before we said “I do.”

I had just returned from Vietnam and mustered out of the Marines. I marched into the newspaper managing editor's office and asked for work. We chatted for a while, and he said he would give me a tryout.

Many grey-haired old dogs, like me, remember 1968. Like this year, the political news seemed to overwhelm everything. Day after day, the news just hammered us. There was the Vietnam war, street riots, political conventions peppered with tear gas, and political assassinations of major national figures Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

It seemed the Republicans and Democrats and, sadly, neighbors couldn't agree about anything. Sound familiar? Are we experiencing something akin to 1968?

The other day, I got a note from a nice lady, a political party volunteer who delivers candidate yard signs. She said some of her neighbors were afraid to put up signs for candidate A because her neighbors favored candidate B.

Has support for a major party candidate become dangerous? In case you were hiding in the basement, we have had several people shot during recent protests. So far, the topper was when the FBI busted a dozen knuckleheads who planned to bomb police stations and kidnap the governor of Michigan.

Some fear it may get worse. Me, too.

The other day, I pulled a bunch of negative ads from my post office box. They were blasting local legislative candidates. Maine legislative races go negative? Yikes.

They say the red hot Senate race between incumbent Susan Collins (R) and challenger Sara Gideon (D) will cost $90 million.

Think of what our state could do with $90 million. I suppose they could start by fixing a few roads.

It is the first time in her long career that Collins has faced a severe and well-funded challenger. And Gideon is putting up a tough fight. Collins is pulling out all stops. She even convinced retired TV talking head Bill Green to lend his smiling face to her advertising blitz. Green just happened to mention that Collins' opponent was funded by folks who were “from away.”

Collins even drafted Boothbay resident Dawn Gilbert to lend her face to the TV commercial wars. I am told there is another local Collins supporter who was filmed for another commercial. It has not been aired. I expect it was so convincing Collins will put it on TV in the last weeks to cement her campaign.

I note news reports claiming the state Democrats are putting up Trump/Collins signs as they try to tie the incumbent to the president who is trailing in the polls. Recently, Collins raised a few eyebrows when she declined to tell a TV interviewer if she is backing Trump. 

We stayed up way too late the other day to watch the debate between Vice President Mike Pence (R) and Senator Kamala Harris (D). We wanted to eyeball both candidates to see if they had enough moxie to be promoted. After all, both major party candidates are old (like me).

During the debate, both of us noticed a fly decamped on Pence's coif. Lots of others saw it too, and it triggered a tsunami of social media quips.

I keep expecting one of those conspiracy spouting knuckleheads to suggest it was not a fly at all. Maybe it was a mini-super tiny atomic-powered drone sent by aliens to monitor and influence his brain waves.

Enough politics. The other day, I got a phone call from some guy claiming to represent an outfit called V-Tech. He said my computer protection program had expired, and I had to send him $249.95 to reinstate it. Sure I will. Scam-a-Mundo. Beware.

Last week, Gov. Janet Mills announced she is loosening some COVID-19 restrictions. The Bangor Daily News says we can now patronize Maine businesses that provide customers with facial tattoos, piercings, and waxing services. A full trifecta. I can't wait.

Lastly, Maine’s first legal marijuana sales stores opened for business last week. Reports said the pickings were slim, the price was steep, and taxes were high. Welcome to the free marketplace, kiddies.