Non-fiction

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44 articles in category Non-fiction / Subscribe

I felt it snap as it left my hand. A little tingle in my shoulder was felt as the horseshoe flew away. As soon as I felt this seemingly little discomfort I knew that within the next few hours I would be popping Advil like a six-year-old would pop candy. The feeling also showed me that the summer of discomfort was about to begin.

The game of horseshoes has never been associated with any type of sport injury. That is unless you observe the many backyard and beach competitions that take place during all of the summer months. These are usually associated with a lot of yelling and making fun of where this horseshoe landed or why a certain relative or friend never experienced the concept of a “ringer”.

Some of the other horse-shoe related injuries include the pesky thumb blister that never heals until the last horseshoe is thrown on Labor Day weekend. The shin knob is another popular injury in that it begins after an older uncle’s horseshoe flies out of the pit and directly onto your shin.The color and size are the most interesting parts of this particular injury in that its deep purple sheen never fades away and the horseshoe shaped swell becomes a permanent part of one’s leg. Continue Reading →

My wife was annoyed with me the other day. I was sent to my closet to get rid of items that I no longer wore. These included t-shirts, sweat-shirts, pants, jeans, shorts, hats, and every other thing I have covered my body with, for the past 50 or so years.

H.G. Wells should have known, that if one could find a time-machine in this universe, all one had to do was look in an old man’s closet. As always, my wife was right. When I opened my closet it looked like it was filled with a solid block of multi-colored cloth. There was not a space either hanging or on the shelf that could fit another item. How the shelf didn’t fall, because of the massive weight of sweatshirts and sweaters, is above and beyond my comprehension.

Shoes and old worn-out sneakers covered the floor of the closet that I assumed had a rug over it. I assumed this because there was a possibility that the shoes could have been on top of even older sweaters. I decided to start at the top and work my way down.  When I reached and grabbed what I thought was a single sweatshirt the entire contents of the shelf came tumbling down. How I survived the avalanche is above and beyond my comprehension. Continue Reading →

They say that all things are relative but the time-span and areas they are related to can cause problems. In my case too many of the ‘old days’ could not be described as ‘Good’.

World War 2 against Germany was declared a few months before my fifth birthday and the area of the south coast of England, where I lived, soon became affected. I can remember my infants/primary school lessons being interupted by air-raid sirens and having to go outside to the former playground which had been filled with a number of corrugated-steel shelters.

Once inside them, we settled on the hard wooden benches, lit a candle and tried to read our lesson books until the all-clear alarm sounded. Too often this process happened more than once a day and became unsettling to some. Looking back, I realise that, even with the covering of turf on the shelter, a falling bomb would still have blown us to pieces.

In fact, this was soon realised by my father who had served in the Royal Horse Artillery in WW1. After being woken one night by the Air-raid alarm, we slept the rest of the night in the shelter installed in our back garden. Next morning he decided that, if we were bombed, it would be better to die in our warm home than spend too many of our nights in the freezing cold, useless ‘shelter’. It wasn’t wasted though, as it soon became a place to grow mushrooms and keep our home-grown vegetables and fruit. Continue Reading →

I have lived and worked in Maine for about 35 years. Since I am now 66 years old and a native of Flushing, NY it is time to make a decision as to where my wife and I want to spend this newest chapters of our lives.

I’ve talked to many people and a good majority believes it’s time to find a new warmer home to live. Even though Maine has the second oldest population, Florida is the oldest; I wanted to investigate why older people seem to want to live in Maine.

Why Maine shouldn’t be a place to grow old is obvious. It’s cold. The average temperature in Maine is approximately 45.5F throughout the year with a summer average temperature of 79F and a winter average temperature of 12F.

This makes Maine the third coldest state in our nation behind Alaska and North Dakota. Most older people like warmer temperatures but are there other reasons why older people should not consider retirement in Maine? Continue Reading →

There are many laws of science that can’t be questions. One of the most important laws is The Law of the Conservation of Matter and Energy. It clearly states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

Thinking back to my catechism days I clearly remember the nuns and brothers of my past drilling into all who had to be there that God has always been and always will be. In Genesis 1:3, God said: “Let there be light”; and there was light. God  saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
 
Over the centuries there has been an argument between religion and science. Webster defines religion as: “the service and worship of God or the supernatural”.  Science is defined as: “a branch of knowledge in which what is known is presented in an orderly way.”
An orderly representation of God can be in many forms like The Bible or The Quran. In order to attempt to understand the concepts of God, Science, and energy one has to have a concept of time.
 
Man, or a comparison to man about 203 million years ago, has inhabited the Earth. The Earth itself is said to be 4.5 billion years old. The concept of Christ is approximately 2016 years and Mohammed is said to have lived about 1446 years ago.

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There are many ways of evaluating what kind of a week you had. You could review your checkbook to see if you added or reduced your balance. You could weigh yourself to see if that extra glass of wine or can of beer actually increased the size of your waste or butt.
Or you could focus on your eyes in a mirror, to see if the bags under your eyes increased in bulk. Scientifically the best way of measuring the success of your week is by checking to see what’s inside your dishwasher. 
The next time you have to run your dishwasher, because nothing else can fit in it, observe what is in it. If the number of wine glasses or beer mugs overwhelms the number of dinner dishes, you probably had a very stressful week.
If you think back you probably had little energy to cook or even open a can. Pouring a glass of wine or opening a bottle of beer takes a lot less energy, plus it lessens the time to end up falling asleep in front of your TV.
If the number of coffee cups overwhelms the number of dinner dishes, you were definitely expecting a rough day. There are certain mornings when all it takes to get you going is a single cup of coffee.
There are also certain mornings when you realize the day ahead will be filled with many explanations as to why something wasn’t done, or why you did it.

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There I stood at the end of my driveway looking out into my front yard from my garage for the first time since late November. Obviously I’ve looked at my yard before but concentrating on its appearance was now important because I was pretty sure the last of the snow had fallen. This meant the snows of winter would no longer disguise the debris that found its way onto my property. Before walking on my lawn I tested the ground to make sure it was dry enough so my feet wouldn’t make indentations that would probably mean the death of my lawn mower.

The first thing I did was pick-up all the cigarette butts that ended up on the peripheral of where my property ends and the road begins. I could never figure out why people throw something out the windows of their cars they know will never disintegrate. Hell, I could never figure out why people throw any type of garbage out of their cars and into the road. I wonder if they think some magical force would make their garbage disappear?

This year I counted 86 cigarette butts thrown on my lawn. I looked up at my house and wondered where the sign was hidden that advertised how my property was one large ashtray. Or did my property have some sort of a magnetic attraction for the plastic in the filters of the butts, so all of the discarded butts in the western world ended up on my property. Continue Reading →

“Yes you can voice your opinion as long as it’s done in a civil manner.”
I have to admit I was in a bit of shock when I read this letter concerning an upcoming meeting, of an association which I was told my neighborhood was part of.  My original question concerned if I could voice my thoughts and opinions concerning the association. I didn’t know of anyone who thought I couldn’t do this in a “civil” manner. At least I thought I didn’t.
I asked my wife if anyone considered me uncivil. She told me that I sometimes used a tone in my conversations, or letters, that led people to believe that I was aggressive and sarcastic. How can ‘tone’ overwhelm what is being discussed? How can it even be projected into a written letter or e-mail?  To answer this I found my old dilapidated Webster’s Dictionary, to understand what ‘tone’ is supposed to be. Webster states that it is: “An individual way of speaking or writing.” If the concept of tone has to do with the individual, how can it be determined as being passive or aggressive?

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“I have no clue what I did with my glasses.”
That is what my friend, Hank, told me as he began his story. Hank and his family had just watched the Patriots lose their last game of the season. At first I didn’t see how a little absent mindedness could bother anyone. However, when I saw how upset and nervous he was, I had to listen to the rest of his tale.

“For the past decade or so I have always put my glasses on the end table, by my chair in the living room. It is a habit I have and I do it without thinking. Then, one morning I reached for my glasses and they weren’t there. I spent the entire day looking for them and wondering what could have happened to them.”

It was obvious he was not bothered by the loss of his glasses but was stressed by the fact that his glasses had seemingly disappeared. He told me he asked his wife, Stacey, if she could think of anywhere his glasses might be and she told him what he already knew. Wives are very good at stating the obvious!

As he told me his story I began to wonder where lost things go. I have also lost many items and have no idea where they went. I lost a pair of sunglasses last year. They disappeared out of the small drawer by the door that opened into our garage.

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Webster defines experience as being: “The actual living through an event or events, the skill or knowledge gained by actually doing a thing and something that one has actually done or lived through.’

The Portsmouth Herald published a column on February 3, 2016, entitled, “Portsmouth schools to incent teacher retirements. To quote the article: “ The City Council unanimously approved a proposal by the School Board to offer teachers a retirement incentive package this year.” The City Manager explains the purpose for the incentive is to achieve savings without compromising education.

Does he really believe this? Do people who are responsible for the education for the children of their community think experience has no value? City Manager Bohenko adds: “The savings would be achieved by replacing employees at the top of the pay scale with new employees who would be paid at a lower rate.”

I wonder if he understands that the purpose of a pay scale is to provide incentive for teachers to stay at the school. It is important to have teachers understand how to work with young men and women. The art of teaching can’t come from taking classes and earning high degrees in a graduate school setting.

The University of New Hampshire has an interesting concept. There is no undergraduate education degree program. Students earn a degree in a specific discipline during their under-graduate career. I agree with this concept. Then they take an advanced program at the university to earn their master’s degree in education.

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