Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Friday, August 31, 2018

Tailgating 2018

I suppose there could be more than one explanation for this but recently, and by far more this summer, I can't seem to drive anywhere without somebody coming up behind me and tailgating me.
Tailgating?
What's tailgating? Bill, define your use of this word.
Back when I learned how to drive a car there was this notion that was taught to new drivers that there was such a thing as a "safe following distance" which, if I recall correctly, was defined, in Maine at least, as allowing at least one car length of distance between the front of your car and the back of the car ahead of you for each ten miles per hour of speed. I still tend to go by that measure. By that measure a driver should allow at least three car lengths at 30 miles per hour, six car lengths at 60, etc.
It's difficult for the car ahead to regulate how far behind the car that's following is so maintaining a safe following distance is the responsibility of the driver of the car that is doing the following.
In other words, the tailgater is the driver of the car that is following too closely.

So picture this:
  • It's late in the day on a Monday in late summer and I am driving an older Subaru Outback with my wife beside me and two of my grandchildren in the back seat and we are in Acadia National Park on the Maine Coast and we have just started up the narrow paved road that climbs Cadillac Mountain.
  • The pavement is just wide enough for two lanes, one ascending and one descending.
  • There is no shoulder to speak of on either side of the road, no place to pull over.
  • There is a double yellow line in the center of the road all the way from bottom to top along this road so there is no safe place to pass.
  • The speed limit is posted as 25 miles per hour.
  • I am pretty much doing 25 miles per hour, going maybe as much as 30 on straighter sections and 15 to 20 on the sharpest curves.
  • Although I can see no cars ahead of me, in general most drivers on this road use the same caution I am using because this is a dangerous road.
  • An SUV, or was it a van, sporting pale yellow New Jersey license plates, pulls up behind me and starts following me at a distance close enough so I could, if I were to take the time, clearly see the expression on the driver's face. One car length would be an exaggeration of the following distance this nut is allowing for our safety.
What am I to do?
Basically, this flaming asshole jerk driver has consumed my "safe space" leaving me with four choices:
  • I can speed up in an attempt to satisfy this prick.
  • I can maintain my speed and ignore the fact that this asshole is forcing me to drive at an unsafe speed even though I am only going the speed limit.
  • I can slow down to the new safe speed which if I judge that he is one car length behind me would be 10 miles per hour.
  • I can stop, although there's no shoulder to pull over on when I do stop, and the driver behind me can figure out how to get past me.
I didn't speed up. Speeding up to please a demanding tailgater is just a stupid thing to do if you ask me.
Sometimes slowing down is all that's needed. The tailgating driver will realize why the car ahead of him has slowed down and he will back off. No such luck with this New Jersey asshole. But I did slow down some.
Unfortunately there wasn't a good place to stop for maybe the first quarter or maybe half mile but as soon as there was a short stretch of relatively straight road ahead, like maybe 50 yards of visible roadway ahead, I slowed and signaled a right turn and gradually came to a stop.
Unbelievably, the guy's first reaction (with an expression of confusion on his face) was to pull over and stop behind me although as soon as he realized that the SUV behind him was going to pass the both of us he changed his mind and finally went by me and went zooming off up the hill. I never saw him again.

I used to think that most tailgaters did their evil deed in order to sort of let the drivers of the cars ahead of them know that they were driving too slowly, you know like hey stupid slow driver, I'm in a hurry and you are causing me an unacceptable delay.
Lately I've had to rethink that theory. Over the past few years I have started noticing that people tailgating me don't pass me even when the passing is good, when the road is clear and the lines indicate a passing zone. There's a highway from Brewer to Ellsworth, US Route 1A, that has several areas where the road widens on the uphill side to two lanes. Such areas are marked with signs saying "Slower traffic keep right" or some such thing. So unless I'm passing slower traffic, I pull over into the right lane leaving the lane to my left absolutely free and clear for anybody to pass me.
The worst of the tailgaters don't pass!
I've even seen this on the Interstate when people come up from behind and tailgate me even when there's no traffic behind them preventing them from changing to the left lane and passing me.
My rational mind is incapable of understanding this behavior. Yet it is starting to become a common occurrence and has been especially noticeable this summer.

But I'll give it a try...
Here's what I think must be going on.
People who tailgate the cars ahead of them but don't seem to realize when it's safe to pass just plain feel more comfortable following the cars ahead of them so closely that they can't see the road ahead.
That doesn't make sense, right?
I mean, why would any driver not want to see the road ahead? Why would anyone prefer to be fixed in a daze staring at the tail lights of the cars ahead of them?

Here's my guess:
Because it doesn't take as much brain work. Such drivers are passing the responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers on to the driver of the car ahead of them. They themselves don't need to pay attention to anything other than the car ahead. So they prefer this kind of driving. It's easier.

Assholes...

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Eye of the Elephant

So I wrote about the Eye of the Elephant back on August 4 and said I'd have to go check it out for myself. My wife and I were up for an adventure a week ago last Monday so we did that hike the hard way but landed squarely at the site where the boulder came to rest. My wife was impressed with my navigation skills but I'll tell you what, I made the hike a lot tougher than it needed to be. Next time, Bill, use the first turnout on the Horseshoe Pond road where that other Subaru was parked, not the third.
 A picture is worth a thousand words so they say. Here, in my first ever attempt to put a picture in this journal, are a few thousand words worth of pictures.



That sure isn't the kind of place you feel relaxed about hanging out in. Makes you wonder what else might be hanging out up above now that all the trees have been bowled out of the way.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Beer

I just popped open a can of beer that's been sitting on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator for a few weeks. It's not cheap beer, you know like Bud Lite. It wasn't fifty cents a can by a long shot.
Sometimes, although lately those sometimes have been few and far between, but sometimes beer tastes good.
But today...
There's not a whole lot of difference between beer and piss.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Good Rant

One thing I really appreciate about blogs is that they are chronological. If you have an interest in looking back and seeing what was new on the Internet and current in the world at that point in time you can navigate in a blog to that point in time and see what the blogger was seeing. A blog post is a snapshot in time. It's hard to use any other media in that same way and have this same kind of trail in history. Yes it can be done but who ever does it? You access media archives through Google searches and good luck trying to get chronologically indexed results. I've never noticed that happening in my Google searches unless the story is maybe a few days old.

Anyway...

Here's a really good snapshot of something major that is happening in the world right now, something that involves basically anybody who uses social media. Styx is by far my favorite rant master.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Vote Season

It's vote season again, no holiday but just the same, time for crazy to rule the land. The midterm elections (2018) are nearing.
What does that mean for us common folk?
Propaganda!
I can't seem to look anywhere now without being blasted by propaganda masquerading as "news".
I guess you could call it fake news season except that the fake news cycle from the left has been going on since the last election cycle when the left LOST!!!
There was a period of time after the pro-Trump conservative Republican victory two years ago that it seemed to me that the Left media was so far removed from reality, so heavily dependent on their lies, that all conservative media needed to do was tell the truth and Americans would naturally gravitate to their view of reality. And for quite awhile that was what seemed to be happening. Politics was taking a back seat to truth.
I'm not saying the Left has stopped lying. Far from it. The leftist media is awash in their lies, drowning in them. But conservative media, not just Fox but basically all large conservative voices, seem to have abandoned the notion that the truth will set us free and have been busy reacting to the leftist nonsense with nonsense of their own.
Take for instance today's headline news that Iran has all of a sudden come out with a new fighter jet that threatens Washington somehow. Videos that I've seen show a fighter jet virtually identical to the American T-38 which is the training version of the F-5 which has been around since the 1960's. Word has it that Iran had some left over F-5's from the Jimmy Carter era but Vietnam inherited a bunch of F-5's when the US scrambled to pull out at the end of the US Vietnam War back in the mid-1970's.
So why all of a sudden is this so-called all-new home brewed Iranian fighter such a big deal and why is such a short-range airplane a threat to Washington when Iran doesn't have carriers to carry it to the Western Hemisphere? I don't know. I can't explain it. I guess it must be meant to induce fear in American voters and persuade them to vote for pro-Israel, anti-Iran politicians maybe?
Fox News isn't even reporting on the farce. They're toting the same threat to Washington line the mainstream media is toting.
This is a decades-old lightweight short-range fighter jet capable of a top speed slightly over the sound barrier. It's not stealth. It's not a threat to the United States. Yes a Kamikaze Iranian pilot might be able to fly one to Israel but it wouldn't be the first time Iran had that capability.
So why the media panic today and more importantly why the silence about this being a US fighter plane?
Propaganda.
Have you heard the other one this morning? Russia is using hackers to target conservative think tanks? This what, justifies the Left's crackdown on conservative media? Silence the Right! Right? Fear Russia! Vote neoconservative! Or is it "Vote Socialist"? I can't seem to tell the difference anymore. Are we trying to empower Israel or Communism? The truth is nowhere in sight.
Politics has assigned a new word for "truth" this year - "Q".
It's Vote Season!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Think

Something to think about...

Most animals don't think outside the box.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

The Eye of the Elephant

I'm going to have to check this one out for myself. There's a place nearby that has the potential to send my heart racing for all the natural beauty and intense foreboding danger it possesses yet there is no trail leading to it. Over the years, since I was in my twenties actually, I have paid this place perhaps half a dozen visits yet from a distance I have probably peered out over Wilson Pond and seen this place hundreds of thousands of times, if not more. It's called the Eye of the Elephant.
The Eye of the Elephant is on the west slope of the southern end of Elephant Mountain ten miles or so east of Greenville. Looking east at Elephant Mountain from Lower Wilson Pond, Upper Wilson Pond, or the hillside between the Greenville airport and Lower Wilson, the eye is clearly visible on the right side of the mountain. It is formed by ledge that juts out forming an overhang beneath which is a long steeply-sloped rock slide. Elephant Mountain is so named because from this same perspective the right end of the mountain forms what the imagination can easily perceive to be an elephant's head complete with an eye, a mouth, a trunk, and even whatever they call that nob on the top of an elephant's head. I'm sure somebody creative could even find an ear. The elephant is facing and looking south. This rock overhang has been the eye for as long as I've been in the world and for God only knows how many centuries before that.
The rock slide is an accumulation of large rocks that have collected from the erosion of this rock overhang. Occasionally over the years I have looked at this slide from a distance and thought to myself there's something different this year, like something new broke off and tumbled down the slide. All this summer, though, I've been saying to myself there's something really different up there. The slide looks brownish instead of its usual lichen gray and it seems quite a bit longer extending down into the spruce forest below. This spruce forest grows from a shady bed of moss-covered boulders that when I have been up close and personal among them I have always thought was one of the most beautiful sites around this area.
On several occasions I have worked my way up and to the left of the outcropping and up onto the top of the eye's brow. I even have a picture somewhere of my son standing out on that brow looking out at the view to the west over Wilson Pond and Moosehead Lake. He had jumped across a wide fissure and was standing on a relatively flat area on what seemed to me to be a huge boulder in the making, something that eventually some winter would fall. He went out there but I wouldn't!
So I was in the library yesterday and saw an article in the local paper written by local guide and author Chris Keene who had heard about a new addition to this rock slide and had been out there just recently and had been amazed by the size of the boulder and by the path it had carved down through the trees beyond the slide. Thank you Chris for that article and for exploring where paths fear to tread.
Chris did include a warning which sure rings a bell for me. There is a sense of danger being out there on that slide. You just can't escape it. It's almost as if as you look up, up, way up there at the eye and the outcropping ledge which always used to cast a midday shadow beneath it, it's as if you expect a large rock to break off and come flying down that slide aimed right directly at you. For me at least it's a feeling I can't escape. It's like yeah I was there but I sure don't recommend it for anyone who might blame me if they were to get hurt out there. Chris basically shared that same sentiment in his article.
I haven't been doing any hiking lately but I think this bushwhacking venture might be on my bucket list again. I approach the slide from the south, from the road in to Horseshoe Pond rather than from the west but I usually miss my target. Just south of the slide is a steep slope of almost impenetrable young softwood, thick as anything I've ever been in, but there is, or was at least until this summer, a target zone, that mossy boulder-strewn spruce forest. I've missed that on a few occasions, though, passing below this area, below the slide, below the rocky spruce forest, and beyond to the north side of things into woods that disoriented my bushwhacking head. It's not easy on that mountainside to say to yourself I must have missed the slide, I should turn back and go a little higher up but that has always worked for me.
The three times that I've been to the top of the eye's brow I have approached it from the left looking up. The first time I went up there I went too far to the left and wound up on a smooth steeply-sloped open ledge surface that was like being on a steep roof. I thought for sure I was going to slip and slide down that ledge and die up there. I think that was the time I rode my bicycle out to Elephant Mountain from town and encountered a huge bull moose on my return to town. He jumped out into the road in front of me and stopped and just stared at me for awhile while tingles of fear rose up my spine. He wasn't close enough to touch but I didn't have any problem conversing with him while he stood and stared me down and blocked the road.
Elephant Mountain is also the site of the B-52 bomber wreck from 1963, now a memorial site and tourist attraction.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Einstein Rolls Over

I must just be stupid.

Seriously.

Stupid, just plain stupid. Oh you agree? Well then, no need to read on.

But if you are curious why I am saying this let me explain.

Scientists seem to agree that the universe began something like 13.7 or 13.8 billion years ago with what they call "The Big Bang". Ever heard of it? The Big Bang?

Ever heard of Albert Einstein? The Big Bang, as far as I know, wasn't his idea. One of his ideas, though, was that matter, you know like atoms and whatever atoms are made of and whatever is made of atoms, can't move through space faster than the speed of light. In space, light travels a distance of one light year each year. Light, for any dummy like me at least, has had, if the Big Bang theory is correct, a maximum of 13.7 or 13.8 billion years to travel through space.

So far so good.

However, science also seems to propose that matter, you know, atoms and stuff, can't travel that fast. Light can and does but matter can't because it would take enormous energy to make matter accelerate to that speed, something like infinite energy.

Yet...

Our modern telescopes seem to be able to see galaxies and whatever that, my feeble mind tries to comprehend, were - what's the figure now - 46 billion light years away from earth when their stars shone the light we are seeing now. Or at least that's how far they are from us now. It's hard to know just which of those two possibilities is considered by scientific consensus to be true, or if the truth is something else entirely, something still consistent with this data.

Let that digest a moment...

So the "visible universe" according to really seemingly smart people is something like 91 or 92 billion light years across or at least maybe that's how big it was back then when that light first shone from its stars or something else, some other concept. It's hard to say what these scientists are actually saying.

No that can't be right, my feeble unscientific mind tells me. I must have misunderstood.

In any case, somehow the atoms that make up these distant galaxies managed to get 42 billion light years away from us in less than 13.8 billion years despite the speed limit for atoms, for matter, or even the speed limit for light.

I wish there were somebody in this world who speaks English and has the capacity to explain to me in ways that require understanding rather than faith or magic how this enormous contradiction can actually be true or even scientifically sound. Please, if you're out there and want to take up this challenge, do it without leaving anything out but without complicating your explanation beyond the understanding of dumb asses like me.

Of course this isn't the actual size of the universe, this 91 or 92 billion light years across. This is just what our telescopes have been able to see so far. Better telescopes will likely see much more distant galaxies. I have little doubt of that and my doubt is growing littler and littler the more science tries to convince me that there's no contradiction here.

Big Bang schmang...

How to Train a Narcissist

I've been learning a thing or two the past few years about narcissistic people. I've read a few books, watched some YouTube videos, read a few things online, and of course learned from personal experience. There's always personal experience.
Narcissist is one of those words that most people tend to either define for themselves or just plain tolerate without any real understanding of its meaning. It's like passive aggression which is narcissism's first cousin - or is it aunt. I can never recall the exact relationship, grandmother maybe or stepson. So what does the word mean?
  1. The first thing you need to recognize about narcissism is that it is a behavior. Narcissism refers to certain particular kinds of behavior.
  2. The second important point is that narcissism is manipulative. The narcissist has mastered the fine art of manipulating other people in order to meet their own perceived desires or needs.
  3. The third important aspect of narcissism is that it is childish. Generally speaking narcissists learn the behavior as a child and even when adults behave that way, they seem childish somehow.
  4. The forth aspect is that narcissism is a competition. Narcissists compete for control and because they have mastered the fine art, they persist until they win. They beat you down until you finally give in to their demands.
  5. The fifth aspect is that narcissists generally know who they can victimize and who they really shouldn't. They practice their art on you if they feel they can win the competition. They refrain when they know they can't get their way with you, when you never give in to the manipulation, when you just simply don't play their game. When child narcissists have not yet learned how to be around people and not try to dominate them, they will avoid the people they know they can't dominate.
So in other words narcissists are childish manipulators who if you let them will beat you down until you give in and meet whatever demands they are imposing on you. They aren't much fun to be around when they are playing their game.

By the way, as always this is just one man's perspective. There's no need to quote me. I'm not an expert. I've just been around a few narcissists for the past forty plus years and have even generated a few of my own. Hi kids. Sorry about this! Wife too! Oh and let's not forget the mother-in-law!

Narcissists are easily offended. I'm talking piece of cake easy. If a narcissist is trying to practice the art on you, all you need to do to offend her (note the use of a gender correct pronoun here, not saying all narcissists are female although a hell of a lot of them are) is to resist her control over you, like maybe point out the childish absurdity of her behavior and refuse to go along, refuse to comply.
I had the opportunity to do just that a couple days ago. My daughter-in-law was visiting with her three kids, the grandkids, and almost as soon as they were out of the van they were asking me to take them to the playground. The youngest, Alice, has Lyme disease and has problems getting around so her mom brought along a new wagon for her to ride around in. So it was agreed that I would pull the wagon. In the wagon was a bag of Cheetos or something like them. Alice's older sister wanted some of Alice's Cheetos but she's a wee bit heavy set right now and her mom is trying to, or at least seeming to try to do something about it so she was saying no, those are Alice's. Bethany had already been offered a hot dog and even supper but had refused it. Still, she was starving and just had to have some Cheetos. Well before you know it Bethany is throwing a crying hissy-fit that any baby would be proud of. Bethany is a ways from being a teenager but she's a far cry from being a baby.

So guess what happened next. Her mom said OK you can have some Cheetos.

I thought about this for a moment and then I walked up to Bethany, yes right there in front of her mother, and I said Wow! You got just what you wanted just by crying! I was loudly exclaiming this to her. So then I said Congratulations! and I reached out my hand and gave her a vigorous handshake. I told her I was really impressed! She looked at me and smiled like she wasn't quite sure what I was up to or why I was doing this, saying these things.
So what did her mom say? She said I know, I know, I'm tired and I give in when I'm tired.

So do you get what I'm saying? Here's a mom who lets her kids get away with childish manipulative self-absorbed behavior constantly enough to wear her out and then rewards them for it.

I don't know about you, but I think this kind of behavior has become the social norm. Parents are no longer allowed to discipline their own children. They are taught not to. They are taught that disciplining children is akin to child abuse. Parents are supposed to reason with their children, not discipline them.

So here is a family who reasons with their kids but doesn't really believe in disciplining them because disciplining children is child abuse. So what's it like to reason with young children? Let me inform you about something. Children will beat you to a pulp if all they have to face for childish selfish self-absorbed behavior is kind words. Cruel words from parents is verbal abuse so the words coming from parents need to be kind words. Kids, though, have no such restrictions. Abuse of parents by children is generally considered to be an oxymoron so the kids can say whatever the hell they want however the hell they want to say it.

The title of this post is "How to Train a Narcissist". I just showed you how it's done. When kids grow up being rewarded for this kind of behavior and never learn that behaving this way is wrong in so many ways that they just have to teach themselves not to behave this way, they become adult narcissists. Our modern society is full of this kind of people now, full to the brim and overflowing. Our modern world is drowning in narcissism and we can't even see it. We don't even know what the word means.

Oh did I offend you? Awwwwwww… What, you want me to say I'm sorry?!!!