Trump Makes The Media Look Like Chumps - Again

The headline reads “Afghanistan Thanksgiving: Trump makes the press look like boobs.

For the U.S. troops abroad, President Trump made a major personal sacrifice by skipping his own Thanksgiving in order to surprise them by helping to serve them theirs. Under cover of secrecy, he flew nearly 7,000 miles, met with them, praised and cheered them, took selfies with them, served them in the chow line, and generally gave the brave fighting men and women in the world's most forlorn hellhole something to smile about. It was a lovely presidential gesture, well in keeping with past presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who also made holiday trips to cheer the troops.

But unlike them, he also had a goodie for us back home: he managed to expose the press as presumptuous boobs.

Newsweek meant to criticize Trump for golfing on Thanksgiving, which actually would have been an acceptable thing for him to do, given that it was a holiday and every chief executive needs what project managers call "maintenance time."

What’s so remarkable about this? Nothing, really. Hasn’t President Trump been doing this since before he took office, making them report one thing as ‘fact’ when what they reported was nothing of the sort. This time it led to the firing of the Newsweek reporter who originally published the report stating Trump “spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan.”

How many other news reports have been of the same caliber as Jessica Kwong’s? How many reporters and/or editors have been sacked for reporting like this? Is Ms. Kwong merely the latest to be canned by her employer? Or has she been the only one because there was no way Newsweek could spin Ms. Kwong’s fake story to mean something different?

I doubt we’ll see too many others “losing their situations” because of sloppy reporting. Otherwise we would have seen most of the staff of the New York Times and Washington Post losing their situations over the past few years.


A Reminder That Socialism's 400-Year Experiment Keeps Failing

It was around 399 years ago that the first known experiment in socialism started at Plimouth, Massachusetts. (No, that is not a typo. That’s how they spelled it back in 1620.) This is something I’ve referenced more than once in numerous posts in the past. The linked post goes into more detail than I ever have, so it seemed appropriate create a separate post to cover the topic in more detail.

In the diary of the colony’s first governor, William Bradford, we can read about the settlers' initial arrangement: Land was held in common. Crops were brought to a common storehouse and distributed equally. For two years, every person had to work for everybody else (the community), not for themselves as individuals or families. Did they live happily ever after in this socialist utopia?

Hardly. The “common property” approach killed off about half the settlers. Governor Bradford recorded in his diary that everybody was happy to claim their equal share of production, but production only shrank. Slackers showed up late for work in the fields, and the hard workers resented it. It’s called “human nature.”

The disincentives of the socialist scheme bred impoverishment and conflict until, facing starvation and extinction, Bradford altered the system. He divided common property into private plots, and the new owners could produce what they wanted and then keep or trade it freely.

The first socialism experiment lasted only two years, brought death and poverty to the people of the colony, and proved during that first experiment that human nature was stronger than the ‘ideal’ the Pilgrims tried to live by. This was a small group, not a nation, brought together by common cause and persecution back in England. These were people of faith, isolated from the other colonies with no “outside interference” so often blamed by socialist nations that fail to achieve their “utopia”, and they couldn’t make it work.

Over the centuries, socialism has crash-landed into lamentable bits and pieces too many times to keep count – no matter what shade of it you pick: central planning, welfare statism, or government ownership of the means of production. Then some measure of free markets and private property turned the wreckage into progress. I know of no instance in history when the reverse was true – that is, when free markets and private property produced a disaster that was cured by socialism. None.

Why supposedly smart people think they can make it work when people even smarter and wiser than they are couldn’t baffles me. Whether it’s because they have never studied the history of socialism (most likely), were indoctrinated by ‘true believers’, or have chosen to ignore because the truth is inconvenient, arm-chair socialists push to do away with the capitalist system because they don’t like it, or just as likely, don’t understand it and don’t want to.

Almost 400 years of failure and yet some folks still think they can make it work. They fall under Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results this time.

Need I say more?


Real Life 101

On more than one occasion I have suggested that one course that needs to be taught in our schools and colleges is Real Life 101, aka Life Isn’t Fair 101. It is sad that so many of the kids in our schools have not been taught the harsh realities that entail life. This is something that parents and teachers should have been instilling in the children from day one. But teaching these truths has been sadly neglected to the point where students have come to believe that they should never have to deal with life’s unpleasantries such as receiving poor grades for poor work, having to listen to ideas or beliefs that disagree with theirs, finding out that their way isn’t the only way, and most important, the truth about Rule #51, that being that sometimes they are wrong.

As I have mentioned in other posts recently, I have been perusing the 17-and-a-half years of Weekend Pundit archives and have come across something from 2015 that is even more important today.

Were I a professor at one of these institutions that used to provide higher education rather than coddling these self-made 'victims', this is the what I would say to them on their very first day in my class:

“Welcome to Real Life 101. I am Professor Pundit and I'm going to tell you right now that I don't believe in trigger warnings.”

“You will be hearing and seeing things you should have been exposed to earlier in life, but that your misguided and ignorant parents chose to shield you from, meaning you arrived here unprepared to deal with life as it is.”

“I also expect that a good portion of you were told all through school that you were special and never had to worry about losing because 'everyone gets a trophy for just showing up'. Unfortunately, you were lied to because very few of you, if any, are special. Instead, you're average. No, strike that. You're below average because you have no idea what it's like to fail. When you do, you'll have no idea how to deal with it and you'll fall apart. You aren't prepared for failure and that's one of the biggest failings of your parents and teachers.”

“One of the first things I'm going to teach you is this one solid and perpetual truth: Life isn't fair. It never has been and it never will be. Get used to it. If you can't handle this, then I strongly suggest you drop this course and salve your wounded psyche by taking Basket Weaving 100 or Bunny Hugging 110 and leave real life to the rest of us.”

“I intend to flush out all of the crap that has been force fed to you over the previous 12 years of your scholastic life and teach you how to think, not what to think. I will help you develop the skills you need to survive out there in the real world where there will be no trigger warnings, no safe spaces, no college tribunals to take your side because you were offended by what someone said, wrote, or did that everyone else in the world sees as trivial and not worth mentioning.”

“I am going to shove reality in your face. I'm not going to sugar coat it or make it easy for you to coast through this course. I'm going to show you that not everyone can be reasoned with. I'm going to prove to you that there are people out there who don't give a good goddamn about you or your feelings, nor should they. I'm going to show you that there are evil fucking people out there who wouldn't think twice about raping you and then slicing your head off with a knife because it pleases them to do so to someone they see as sub-human. (Yes, this means you, Miss Sorority Pledge.)”

“I'm going to prove to you that the only person you can count on is you when you're out there in the real world. Your mommy or daddy won't be able to bail you out and none of the teachers from your schools will lend you a helping hand once you leave this place. You'll be on your own. If you fail to learn these lessons and the others I hope to teach you, then you will be truly and totally fucked. The only way you'll survive is to move back in with your mommy and daddy and live in their basement. At worst, you'll be curled up on your bed down there, stuck in a semi-catatonic state because you were set up by your parents and your teachers to fail, being totally incapable of dealing with real life as it is, not as you want it to be.”

“Any questions before we begin? No? Good. Then let's get started....”

I feel the need to add a list of a few topics that would be covered in such a course to bring this up to date: .

Grades are earned, not owed. They are based upon the work you do and are not based on your race, ethnicity, political leanings, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. This is particularly true out there in the real world. Employers expect you to do the work they hired you to perform and none of those things listed will matter to them, period.

Feeling is not the same as thinking. Too often you equate one with the other. They are nothing alike. Basing all your decisions upon feelz rather than facts and reasoning will lead you to make the wrong decision most of the time.

Opinions abound and everyone has their own. Your opinion is no more valid than that of anyone else. Get used to it. A lot of folks will have opinions that differ from yours, but that doesn’t automatically mean yours is valid and theirs are not. They may know things you don’t and have had experiences you cannot fathom.

Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re racist or any other kind of ‘-ist’. It just means they disagree with you, period. If you try to push the ‘-ist’ narrative, you’ll prove that you are willfully ignorant about the subject at hand and can be ignored because your opinion isn’t based upon anything but ‘feelz’.

Freedom of speech includes speech you may find offensive. The First Amendment also applies to speech you disagree with, even ‘hate speech’, a concept that is so vague that someone saying “hello” could be defined as having used hate speech. Get used to the idea that hate speech is constitutionally protected speech, not just the speech with which you agree.

Respect is earned. It is not owed nor can it be demanded, no matter what you may believe. If you show no respect, don’t expect to get any in return. If you demand respect, don’t be surprised if you receive only ridicule in return.

I could go on, but then I’d need a bigger blog.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a dark and stormy…day. It started with a little freezing rain which then turned into heavy rain later in the morning. Since I was driving the WP Mom to meet up with the youngest WP Sister at the half-way point between her home and The Gulch. The WP Mom will be spending a few days with my sister helping to get my sister’s place ready to host Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. In the mean time I’ll be ding some work here at The Gulch, getting Christmas items out of the attic and putting the last of the summer items away.


By way of Pirate’s Cove comes this from Irons In The Fire:

This kind of crap is what happens when a group has no actual problems to deal with, so they have to create something.

Students at a Virginia law school are asking the administration to remove 'controversial' figures George Washington and Robert E. Lee from their graduation diplomas.

That seems problematic considering the Virginia law school in question is at Washington and Lee University.

This is something I have noticed for a considerable number of years: Most of the problems we’ve struggled against have been solved, or at least minimized. With very few “Big Things” needing to be dealt with, the Social Justice Warriors have to find something to justify their continued existence. If that means taking small matters and blowing them way out of proportion, then they’ll do just that. Examples abound. Otherwise how do you explain:

Transgendered bathroom/locker room access?

Math being redefined as racist?

Preaching the Gospel being defined as hate speech?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being called an “oreo”?

All this “pronoun” nonsense using made up words no one can pronounce?

Using the wrong “pronoun” being either a firing offense or a criminal act?

The idea that there are eleventy-eleven genders even though biology only recognizes two?

All the silliness about “cultural appropriation” being bad when all successful and thriving cultures have appropriated all kinds of things from other cultures?

Demanding “reparations” for slavery committed by no one alive for almost 100 years and making claims that it didn’t even exist until America created it in the 1600’s?

Western Civilization has never created anything good…except everything being used by the SJWs including things like modern medicine, smart phones, automobiles, denims, TVs, iPods/MP3 players, modern philosophy, computers, the Internet, the U.S. Constitution, and an endless list of other concepts and items?

The idea that arresting underage shoplifters stealing alcohol from a local bakery is somehow racist?

I could go on because there is so many examples of this nonsense. The whole thing is silly, wastes time and money, and lets people who think they have all the answers feel better about themselves briefly before being offended by something new.


Gee, the barking moonbats can’t even leave Mr. Rogers out of their delusional hatred of Donald Trump.

That’s sad. They really need to get some help.


From the Weekend Pundit archives:

“I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.” - Thomas Sowell

That's because the folks who believe it think they know how to spend your hard-earned money better than you do. They are wrong, of course.


If for some reason you feel the need to visit San Francisco you might want to consider reading this item from Legal Insurrection first.

As distasteful as it may be to discuss, complaints to SF 311 about feces on city streets increased again in 2018, including a surprising surge in Glen Park.

The site also notes that so far for 2019, the count jumped to more than 25,000 calls, up seven percent compared to the same time in 2018.

I have only two words to add to this: Poop map.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where it’s raining very hard, the lake was showing big white caps, and where I don’t have to go to work tomorrow because I’m on vacation.


Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living - Part IV

Here we are, the fourth in a series of knowledge and a little advice for those contemplating a move away from suburbia or “The Big City” and out into the country. I've covered a few subjects including such things as neighborliness, winter survival skills, a few hints here and there on small town politics, and more importantly, how not to act.

Now we get into something that most folks in urban and suburban areas rarely have to deal with.


I'm not just talking about the cute little furry animals that you might see around town, like squirrels, chipmunks, or the occasional raccoon, but others like skunks, porcupines, bats, weasels, fisher cats, coyotes, ferrets, deer, moose, and bears.

Let's start with some of the smaller but no less troublesome animals you'll come across if you decide to relocate to the country.

Squirrels and chipmunks, though 'cute and furry' can be both a real nuisance and quite entertaining at the same time. One of the biggest problems they pose is when they decide that your house also makes the perfect home for them, too. Squirrels are particularly good at chewing away at boards and beams in order to make an entrance. Here at The House the upstairs neighbors were surprised to find a family of squirrels had managed to chew their way into their kitchen and tried to set up housekeeping. The were quickly evicted with the appropriate amount of force and their entryway was boarded over.

Chipmunks can be almost as tenacious, but they tend to limit their forays into human habitation to cracks and holes close to the ground.

Raccoons, another animal of the 'cute and furry' category, are quire clever and can wreak havoc with your trash cans and their contents. It's not often that they cannot find a way into even the most 'secure' trash can in their efforts to score a meal. They also have a propensity for carrying rabies, something you don't want to mess with.

Skunks pose their own set of problems, the most obvious one being their ability to spray the unwitting person or pet with their noxious, odious, sinus-clearing weapon. Should you have a run in with one, you'll learn that one of the few things that will help remove the smell from you or your pet is tomato juice. Your clothing, however, may be a lost cause. Skunks are another of those critters that seems prone to carrying rabies, so there are two good reasons to avoid them. In any case should you inadvertently come across a skunk, back away. Make no sudden moves and back away. Usually a skunk will stamp its front feet as a warning before resorting to spraying. Take it to heart and back away.

Porcupines are not something you'll see all that often except as road kill. For the most part they're reclusive. More often than not it will be your dogs that will run afoul of porcupines, if at all.

Bats are one of those animals that people either love or hate. There doesn't seem to be an in-between when it comes to these furry insectivores. My advice to you - get used to them. They help keep down the bug population which means you'll have fewer bugs trying to dine on you.

Bats are nocturnal and come out shortly after sunset so it's not often that you'll see or hear them. In a few places you'll find people have built bat houses to encourage bats to take up residence near their homes. If nothing else they're far less expensive than running a bug zapper...and quieter, too.

Weasels and fisher cats are related, but the fisher is a nastier animal. It can make a meal out of your lapdog or kitty cat. They are voracious and vicious. Weasels on the other hand, tend to be quieter and don't show themselves all that often. While also predators like the fishers, it's rare that they'll go after other predators (like dogs and cats).

Coyotes are more numerous than most folks would think. When people think of coyotes they think of them as being primarily a western animal. But you'll find plenty of them around here. It's not uncommon to hear them barking and howling off in the distance on summer evenings. They are also another critter that will think nothing of helping itself to your trash can, assuming you actually make the mistake of leaving it outside. They will also have no problem making a meal of your dog or cat if they come across them.

There are also coyote hybrids to look out for, such as coy-dogs and coy-wolves. These are mixed breed animals, much as their names suggest. Of the two, the coy-wolves are probably the most dangerous as they combine the characteristics of the coyotes and wolves, and are bigger than coyotes. While not as numerous as the coyotes, there are plenty of these hybrid breed running around.

Wolves have been making a comeback, something obvious considering the presence of coy-wolves. While not numerous and more likely to be inhabiting the less settled areas due to the abundance of game, they still make their presence known at times. Like coyotes, they'll have no problems going after you pets, chickens, or other domesticated animals you may have around.

Many people think of deer as another member of the 'cute and fuzzy' club. It's what I've heard called “The Bambi Factor.”

For the most part deer tend to stay away from people, but there are always exceptions. As some with vegetable gardens have found out, deer will be more than happy to strip their gardens of anything edible. They can also do a great deal of damage when you hit one with your car or truck.

Since most of their natural predators have been wiped out, that leaves only us humans to help keep their populations in check. That means hunting.

Mmmm. Venison....

Moose, a relative of deer, are big. I mean reallybig. A full grown bull moose can top out at over 1000 pounds (454 kg). And unlike their smaller relatives, moose do not run away when they face anything they consider a predator. They stand their ground. That means if you come across one standing in the road while out driving, don't honk your horn. You'll only piss 'em off and make 'em try to flatten your car like a pancake. Moose can be particularly dangerous under two conditions – during mating season (also called rutting season), and if cow is protecting her calf from a perceived threat.

One of the biggest dangers that moose pose is collisions. Moose tend to blend into the background, making it more difficult to see them. This is particularly true near dawn and dusk. It is also when most moose versus automobile collisions take place. Picture hitting a thousand pound moose at 30 or 40 miles per hour. Now picture having that same angry, hurt moose crashing through your windshield and ending up in your lap after you've hit it. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Bears, as slow and as cute as they may seem are damn dangerous. For the most part bears are shy and don't usually come near human habitation. But if they are hungry enough they get over their shyness.

During the spring months bears are particularly hungry and will go through trash cans and pull down bird feeders looking for a meal.

The one thing you never want to do is feed them. Once they know that you're a soft touch for food they will always come back expecting more. If you don't continue feeding them once you've started they may invite themselves into your home by pushing in a door or window. Once that happens they have to be put down. If they learn that there is food to be had inside a house they will break in whenever they're hungry enough. And they won't care if you're inside when they do it. So don't feed the bears!

Another thing to avoid is bear cubs. Every so often hikers come across what they think is an abandoned cub. Trust me when I say that it ain't so- Mama bear is somewhere nearby and the last place that you want to be is between Mama and her cub. So if you're ever taking a walk through the woods and come across a cub, turn around and walk away or it's possible you could become bear food.

The other thing you never want to do while taking your constitutional is to startle a bear. It can have a similar deadly outcome. If you're out walking in the woods make sure you make some noise. This will alert the bear to your presence and give them enough time move away. Remember, bears tend to be shy of humans.

And then there's the mountain lions making the presence known again....


That about does it for this round. There's not a whole heck of a lot more that I can cover about critters at this point. Maybe I'll have more later. Maybe I won't.


Cuomo Blaming Utilities For His Failings

Just when you think New York Governor Andrew Cuomo couldn’t get any worse, he says “Hold my chianti,” and proves us wrong.

After banning fracking in the Empire State, then banning construction of pipelines in or through New York, then blaming the natural gas companies like National Grid and Con Edison for their inability to connect new customers in the greater New York City area because they don’t have the supply capacity to do so, Cuomo quadruples down on stupid and threatens to yank National Grid’s public franchise and get someone else to provide natural gas to New Yorkers. (Link may be paywalled.)

Yeah? Who? No one else can supply any more gas than either National Grid or Con Edison if they can’t build the pipelines they need to get the gas from the Pennsylvania gas fields to their customers. Using trucks, trains, or barges is a non-starter because too many New York watermelon environmentalists are against building the facilities to make any of that feasible. Those methods are also quite inefficient compared to pipelines as a lot more infrastructure is needed for the other methods. They can also be more dangerous.

But that doesn’t concern Cuomo. He really wants to make sure one of the cleanest and most efficient fossil fuels (which he hates with a passion) will become less available and more expensive for his constituents.

The Governor’s response: Who cares?


National Grid already plans to deliver compressed natural gas by truck during the winter, but what if a snow storm closes roads? Perhaps “heat pumps and renewable sources” could alleviate the gas shortage, Mr. Cuomo says.

Heat pumps? Really? Considering what electricity costs in New York and that Cuomo has no use for nuclear power, where is the electricity to run those heat pumps supposed to come from? Renewables like wind? Yeah, considering renewables aren’t reliable, costs many times what electricity from nuclear, coal, and natural gas-fired plants costs, and hydro-power is committed elsewhere, heat pumps aren’t the answer.

On has to wonder what the anti-fossil fuel governor is going to ban next and do so without spending even a microsecond pondering the side-effects. He certainly didn’t waste any time thinking about the bad effects of the fracking and pipeline bans on his constituents.

Is Cuomo trying to out-California California?


Thoughts On A Sunday

The early deep freeze has continued, with temperatures we usually see in January making themselves felt. We didn’t see above freezing yesterday, the overnight temp was about 16°F, and we reached just over freezing (34°F) today. While the Old Farmer’s Almanac says we’ll have a milder winter, I have to ask “As compared to what?” If -20°F is cold, is -15°F ‘milder’?

The cold temps did make it a little more difficult to make repairs to The Gulch’s front stoop. It was necessary to strip the decking from the stoop and the Trex planking had loosened and rather than refastening it, the decisions was made to lay down some new Trex to give the stoop a fresh look. (The old Trex was looking tired, had rust marks where the nails that were used to secure it to the frame were located, and the color no longer complemented the color The Gulch.) But now the stop looks pretty good and should be good for another 15 years or so.


Considering the colder than normal temps we are experiencing, it seems like it would be a good idea to post a link to an important article that tells us how to tell if your firewood is seasoned.

I received a phone call from the folks who bought The Manse from us, asking for some advice about firewood. The Manse has a decent woodstove and they were planning to use it but weren’t sure whether the firewood they had was ready to burn. Fortunately for them the firewood they had was seasoned well enough for them to use. I did suggest that in the future they spend the extra money it would cost to get kiln-dried firewood as it is always ready to burn and gave them the phone number of a local supplier. Fortunately, the garage of The Manse had a rack built in to store firewood inside, keeping it out of the weather. The nice thing is that it could easily hold 3-½ cords of wood.


Ken Lane (aka Wirecutter) over at Knuckledraggin’ relates the heartrending story of the unexpected and sudden passing of his beloved dog, Charliegodammit.

As I wrote in the comments, “They do work their way into our hearts, don’t they? I know there will be a Charlie-shaped hole in your life, much as anyone that has lost a four-footed and furry family member experiences. Bring him home, WC. Bring him home.”


The Barrister is running an unscientific Scientific Survey for Guys.

The topic of his survey? What do you sleep in, if anything?


I like this description of the Lord High Inquisitor Adam Schiff (D-CA): “Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff isn’t a constitutional scholar, but he plays one on Impeachment TV.”

His latest trick? Trying to redefine “bribery” so he can impeach President Trump. The problem is that his definition of bribery doesn’t even come close to the definition in the dictionary or the law books.

What a putz.


Why doesn’t this surprise me?

The California legislature is working hard to make the Pyrite State a Third-World nation by further dismantling its energy infrastructure.

With its green dreams of an emission free state, California has not even been unable to generate enough of its own electricity in-state and imported 29% of its needs in 2018. The bad news is that imported electricity comes at higher costs and those costs are being borne by residents and businesses alike. California households are already paying 50% more, and industrial users are paying more than double the national average for electricity.

The future of electricity in California does not bode well as the State has chosen to not challenge the closure of the States’ last nuclear zero emission generating plant at Diablo Canyon, and 3 natural gas generating plants in Southern California.

With NO plans for industrial wind or solar renewable intermittent electricity projects to generate “replacement” electricity in-state, especially with the huge land requirements for those renewables, there will be a need to import from other states greater percentages of California’s electricity needs in the years ahead. And as you guessed it, more costs to the consumers and businesses who are already infuriated with high costs.

Making the cost of energy unsustainable and the supply unreliable helps no one. As the problems get worse, I have no problem believing that eventually even the high-tech elite will abandon California because remaining there will no longer make economic sense. Once they leave, California is done.


Who’s next on the #Resisters hit list?

Attorney General William Barr.

Why? Because he said something they didn’t like.

So, what’s the problem? Are Democrats upset that Barr is describing them to a T? The article features multiple tweets by multiple unhinged Democrats being unhinged, forgetting what happened January 20, 2009-January 19, 2017.

Deranged, all of them.


And that’s the news from, Lake Winnipesaukee, where it feels more like January rather than mid-November, ice has been forming 4 weeks early on some of our ponds, and where the Trusty RAM 1500 will be getting its annual undercoating a couple of weeks early.


Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living - Part III

I find I must continue to impart my extensive knowledge to those considering a move to “the country.” While this advice is aimed more towards those considering a move to rural New England (particularly northern New England), some of it pertains to almost any rural area that experiences harsh winters. Some of this knowledge and advice will be new and some previous advice given in Parts One and Two will be repeated because it fits in better with this post.


It gets cold around here. That means you will need to dress appropriately for the conditions. There are a number of things to keep in mind when thinking about winter apparel, one of them being this simple rule – layers. Buy your winter clothing with dressing in layers in mind. This is a far better method of staying comfortable over the cold and dark winter months. Wearing a number of lighter layers is far more efficient and comfortable than wearing one or two heavy layers of clothing. It also also allows you to add or shed clothing in order to stay comfortable as either indoor or outdoor temperatures change throughout the day.

Footwear should be warm and dry. Ditch the fashionable high heel knee boots with faux fur trim or your Rockport shoes and go for something that will keep your feet warm and dry. Winter fashion dictates utility and not looks. Always figure that you're going to be standing outside for quite some time even if all you're doing is making a run to local Dunkin' Donuts to pick up a dozen donuts and some coffee. You can never tell when you'll be forced to wait outside in less than great weather. If you aren't sure where to look for such things, check out L.L. Bean.

Think polar fleece. Also called Polartec, polar fleece is one of the warmest materials out there. You can find everything from sweatshirts, sweaters, hats and gloves, to longjohns and jacket linings made from polar fleece. It's warm, light, and inexpensive. Some Polartec clothing even looks fashionable.

Wear a hat. It keeps your head warm and your body doesn't have to work quite as hard to keep it warm, which means that your hands and feet will stay warmer. Why? Because the body will send more blood to the head to maintain the proper temperature and in order to do so will decrease blood circulation to the extremities. Keep the head warm and the feet and hands stay warm.

Use mittens rather than gloves when you're going to be outside for any great length of time. If it's bitterly cold outside, mittens will keep your hands warmer. If you're going to be exerting yourself, then gloves will probably do just fine.

Flannel sheets. One of the easiest and more comfortable ways to stay warm in bed. You immediately feel comfortable and don't have to wait for them to warm up. Far better than an electric blanket and they work even without electricity.

Seal windows and doors to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Newer homes usually have decent windows and doors that seal properly when closed, but older homes (like the old lakeside house where I once resided) have old wooden double-hung windows that don't seal very well and require sealing with things like Mortite or heat-shrink plastic sheeting. It can make the difference between staying toasty warm on even the coldest winter nights or being chilled and using a prodigious amount of fuel trying to keep the indoor temperature above freezing.

Use a humidifier in your house. Believe it or not, this inexpensive device can actually make you feel warmer. During the winter the air inside can get quite dry. This can make it feel colder than it actually is. By increasing the humidity inside, a given temperature feels warmer, meaning the thermostat can be left at a lower setting, saving fuel and money. If you have forced hot air heating or a wood stove, then a humidifier is an absolute must. Without it the air can get so dry you might actually suffer nose bleeds because the sinuses dry out so much. You don't need to by a fancy (read expensive) humidifier to do the job. I have used something as simple as a $16 Vick's warm mist vaporizer to do the job. They're readily available from places like Walmart, which means you can easily afford more than one to keep the humidity high enough in your house. Even if they only last one winter they are worth the price.

Keep an emergency kit in your car/truck/SUV. You never can tell when you might get stranded during a snow or ice storm. It's usually a good idea to stow a few essentials in your vehicle just in case. A good basic kit includes a shovel (collapsible is OK), food (something that doesn't require cooking and is individually wrapped), a flashlight with extra batteries, an empty container of some sort (can be used to melt snow for drinking water), a blanket or sleeping bag, and, above all, jumper cables. You might also want to consider adding a towing strap, just in case you or someone else needs a tow. I also keep a change of clothing in the truck (mostly underwear and socks, and sometimes a Polartec pullover and pair of pants).

Keep the gas tank full. It's usually a good idea to not let the fuel in a vehicle to go below half a tank during the winter. This serves two purposes – it prevents condensation in the gas tank if your car/truck/SUV is prone to such a thing (which can lead to a frozen fuel line), and it gives you a comfortable reserve should you get stuck out on the road in bad weather. You'll be able to run the engine from time to time to keep the interior of your vehicle warm. If you do get stuck, make sure to keep your exhaust pipe clear to prevent carbon monoxide build-up inside your vehicle (that's one use for your collapsible shovel).

Listen to the weather forecasts. If forecasters say a major Nor'easter is headed your way, believe them. In New England, Nor'easters are the worst kind of snowstorm, not so much because of the winds but because of the amount of snow they can drop. The blizzards of 1978, 1993, and 2003 were all Nor'easters and they dropped feet of snow in a single storm. Nor'easters can kill, so pay attention and plan accordingly if one is forecast.

If you must travel during a winter storm, let someone know. Check in with them when you leave and again when you arrive at your destination. Think of it like a pilot filing a flight plan. If nothing else if you find yourself stranded you won't have to wait so long for someone to start looking for you.

Get a two-way radio. Whether it is a CB radio or you go the route of getting your amateur radio license and installing a ham radio, you 'll find that quite often it will let you call for assistance when your cell phone has no signal.

In light of the early blast of winter weather we've seen this week, these next two are repeats, but well worth mentioning again.....

Snow tires, your winter friend. Despite having your car/truck shod with all-season radials, you'll find that a good set of snow tires is worth the investment if you live in a part of the country where annual snowfall is measured in feet rather than inches. All-season radials are a compromise at best. Snow tires just plain work better in the snow. They can mean the difference between making it home safely or ending up in a ditch waiting for someone to (hopefully) pull you out before you become a corpsicle. If you are driving a pickup, consider a good set of all-terrain (AT) tires. They serve well for off-roading as well as driving through heavy snow. You can also leave them on year round if you so desire. Just be aware there is likely a gas mileage penalty for having your truck shod with them. Also, consider investing in a good set of tire chains if you regularly receive heavy snowfall or are prone to ice storms. (No, they aren't cheap, but even if you only have to use them once you'll believe they were worth the cost.)

During a heavy snow storm there is no such thing as a short trip to the store. If you know a storm is coming, get everything you need well beforehand. A trip that normally takes 10 or 15 minutes can take up to 2 hours if the roads are covered with a foot or more of snow. Of course that assumes you don't get stuck somewhere along the way to or from the store. If you do get stuck you might be lucky and they'll find your frozen corpse before the spring thaw.


I think that's enough when it comes to surviving with winters in “the country.” While some of the above may seem overblown, I and family and friends have all experienced one or more of the scenarios outlined above.


San Francisco Is Doomed

San Francisco has been declining for a number of years, particularly in light of the city government’s increasingly tolerance for reprehensible behavior like urination and defecation in the streets, ‘camping’ by the homeless along all city streets, tolerance of panhandlers, and hostility towards property owners trying to keep their stoops and sidewalks feces and derelict-free. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, the people of San Francisco double down and prove otherwise.

The latest action taken by San Francisco voters that will hasten the City by the Bay’s destruction?

Electing a new District Attorney who has already stated that he will not be prosecuting so-called ‘Quality-of-Life’ crimes.

Incoming D.A. Chesa Boudin’s decision is basically the antithesis of “Broken Windows” policing, such policing addressing the little crimes that help head off bigger crimes. Broken Windows has been proven to work, with New York City embracing it during the Giuliani Administration. It drove a dramatic decline in crime across the board and helped make New York City a much safer (and cleaner) city for all its inhabitants.

What can we expect as Boudin’s policy is implemented?

Today on the other side of the country, incoming San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin promises that he "will not prosecute cases" involving "public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc." In other words, [San Francisco], already rife with such activities, is about to get a whole lot worse.

I wonder how badly crime will escalate. Seeing as the threshold for felony theft in California was raised to $950, shoplifting and theft from retail establishments has skyrocketed. Perpetrators are issued summonses and let go, not arrested and charged with theft. Businesses are seeing losses increase dramatically. I expect crimes outside of those quality-of-life crimes no longer being prosecuted will increase. Things like theft, burglary, robbery, assault and battery, rape, and homicide will increase, No one will be safe, including the political elite.

Will the ruling elite do something once they are victimized by the inaction of the new DA? Or will they ignore it and merely relocate somewhere away from the crime-ridden streets of San Francisco?

My ex-missus has friends in San Francisco that have been planning to sell their home there and relocated to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I have suggested that she contact them and to tell them to relocate as quickly as possible before the “feces hits the rotary oscillator” and the value of their home plummets due to the widespread crime. Best they get out while they can still salvage as much value of their home as they can.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It was a busy weekend for yours truly, between trips to the dump, Walmart, the hardware store, one of our local diners, a friend’s home to fix a wireless network problem, and delivering some surplus Android tablets and Pelican cases to another friend. There was also a birthday party for my grandniece and grandnephew to attend at my dear brother’s place.

It’s been interesting weather-wise as we’ve been seeing winter temperatures months early, just like a number of other areas of the nation. While some of those other areas received substantial snowfall, we got a dusting of snow. However, we didn’t escape the windchill seen elsewhere. I have to wonder whether the weather we’re seeing is a precursor to a very cold and snowy winter. NOAA has predicted a warmer than normal winter, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a colder and wetter winter than normal. If what we’ve seen so far is an indicator, I am more inclined to believe the Almanac.


I must agree with Skip on this one.

It’s time to start prosecuting public officials who violate their oaths of office.

According to 5 U.S. 7311, it is a federal crime to violate your oath of office. The punishment? Removal from office, prison, and fines.

When we have politicians who willfully and knowingly violate their oath of office, specifically about “defending and protecting the Constitution of the United States”, it’s time to start holding their feet to the proverbial fire. When they had no intention of adhering to their oath because they don’t believe in the constitution (unless it meets their needs at the time).

Unless a winning candidate takes the oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, he cannot take office. But there is more to the law than that. In order to take office, a candidate who has won an election must take the oath honestly, free of perjury, and without reservation. If a candidate takes the oath with the intent not to keep the oath, the oath is invalid, and the candidate is ineligible to hold office, per the law. Yet the governments of America are rife with officials who violate their oath. Not only that, but candidates are permitted to take the oath, and then to take office, about whom it is well known before the fact that they do not bear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States.

How is this known? In many cases, the candidates tell us frankly that they are opposed to all that. But even though they tell us, no one in authority is willing to prevent them from taking office, as per the requirement of the law and common sense.

It’s time we hold our officials to the standards they seem to believe they can ignore with impunity. After a few of them have been ousted from office and thrown into prison, maybe the rest will get the message. But I won’t be holding my breath.


Cap’n Teach reminds us that the no matter what the weather is – hot or cold – it’s all caused by anthropogenic CO2 driven climate change.

I like how we’re about to do the annual one-eighty from “hottest October in history because of climate change” to “coldest snowiest November in history because of climate change.”

Their “science” turns on a dime!

Everything is caused by climate change.


The WP Mom and I had planned to see Midway. But after reading this roundup of some reviews, we have changed our minds.

I’m not looking for an action movie, something that more than one reviewer and commenter had mentioned this movie was. I’m looking for something that has historical accuracy and real characters, not artistic license with historical facts and shallow portrayals of real people.

The original 1976 Midway movie wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t an action movie. It was historically accurate. There was some poetic license taken with some of the side stories, but nothing that changed the accuracy of the actions taken by the forces on both sides of the battle.

I think we’ll wait until it’s available on streaming. Maybe.


Something that we must be reminded of is the difference between many politicians and the Trumps: The Trumps were wealthy long before they went into government service. The Bidens made money because of their government service.

(H/T Instapundit)


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where winter has made an early visit, thoughts of a snowy Thanksgiving intrude, and plans to have the pickup truck undercoated have been made.


Socialism Is A Disease

We’ve been hearing that a goodly portion of the Millennials believe that socialism is the answer to all our problems. I have two questions for these Millennials:

First, what “problems” is it supposed to solve?

Second, what has socialism’s history been when it comes to solving the supposed “problems”?

Ironically, many of the problems that socialism is supposed to cure – inequality, oppression, poverty, poor health, privation, and joblessness – are worse under socialism. While some reading this may ask me how I know this, my answer is “Look at its history”.

No one can point at any socialist country or society and say “See, socialism works! Look how prosperous, how happy, how healthy, how well housed the people here are!” In over 400 years, socialism has never prospered. While some may try to use countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway as examples of socialist success, those countries will tell you they aren’t socialist states. Rather, they are welfare states because they do not and haven’t controlled their economies or the means of production like socialist states do. They have incorporated some aspects of socialism such as cradle to grave health care, welfare benefits, free college education, and free elderly care, those welfare states are paring back the benefits they have provided their citizens because their system isn’t sustainable. They are running out of other people’s money and they have realized they can’t continue as they have. They’re going broke.

But wait! There’s more!

Multiple forms of socialism, from hard Stalinism to European redistribution, continue to fail.

Russia and China are still struggling with the legacy of genocidal communism. Eastern Europe still suffers after decades of Soviet-imposed socialist chaos.

Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Venezuela are unfree, poor and failed states. Baathism -- a synonym for pan-Arabic socialism -- ruined the postwar Middle East.

The soft-socialist European Union countries are stagnant and mostly dependent on the U.S. military for their protection.

In contrast, current American deregulation, tax cuts and incentives, and record energy production have given the United States the strongest economy in the world.

Yet many in our country are clamoring to emulate those failed socialist states because they see capitalism as the cause of all the world’s ills when in fact it has done more to raise people out of poverty across the world than any other economic system, ever. But apparently that isn’t enough for some folks. They figure they’re owed more. But there’s more to it than that.

Add up a lost generation of woke and broke college graduates, waves of impoverished immigrants without much knowledge of American economic traditions, wealthy advocates of boutique socialism and asleep-at-the-wheel Republicans, and it becomes clear why historically destructive socialism is suddenly seen as cool.

Regrettably, sometimes the naive and disaffected must relearn that their pie-in-the sky socialist medicine is far worse than the perceived malady of inequality.

And unfortunately, when socialists gain power, they don't destroy just themselves. They usually take everyone else down with them as well.

We’ve already seen that outcome recently, that example being the once prosperous and wealthy nation of Venezuela. It was once the richest nation in South America. It has larger proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia. It is now the poorest nation in South America. Its oil infrastructure has fallen apart and is capable of pumping only a small fraction of the oil it once could. Its electrical grid is barely functional, and blackouts are a regular event. There’s no work because there are no raw materials available, there’s no reliable electrical supply, and no motor fuels.

There’s little food because farmers either can’t get seed, get fuel for their farm equipment, or they don’t have the money to pay for those things when they are available because the socialist government set food prices so low that farmers earn so little, they can’t pay for what they used to grow their crops. There are no medical supplies for hospitals. All of this can be attributed to the socialism. It is the socialism the people of Venezuela voted for because they thought it would solve all of the problems they thought they had.

And now we have ill-educated debt-ridden spoiled children thinking that the answer to the problems of their own making is to try socialism again. It won’t work. It hasn’t worked. It will never work. But just like any infectious disease, every time we think it’s under control and close to eradication, it re-emerges in a new place, infecting the unwary and, in some cases, becoming virulent and killing economies, freedoms, and people.


Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living - Part II

I figured I'd add some advice about surviving the severe weather we can see around here. This is for those folks “from away” thinking about moving to the country and living in a little town. And just to make things clear, by “from away” I mean not just people living in the big cities, but those also living in the more heavily settled suburbs surrounding the big cities.

During severe weather it is quite common to lose electricity and sometimes telephone, cable, Internet, and cell service. The farther away you live from 'civilization', the more likely you are to lose power. Heavy thunderstorms, ice storms, snow storms, or heavy winds can knock tree limbs down, taking power lines with them. It's a common occurrence out here. Eventually you'll learn to live with it and be prepared for it. Or you won't.

Be aware that many homes out in the country have wells rather than municipal water. Wells use pumps and pumps use electricity. Remember this phrase: “Generators and gas caddies are your best friends.”

During a heavy snow storm there is no such thing as a short trip to the store. If you know a storm is coming, get everything you need well beforehand. A trip that normally takes 10 or 15 minutes can take up to 2 hours if the roads are covered with a foot or more of snow. Of course that assumes you don't get stuck somewhere along the way to or from the store. (That also assumes the store is open.) If you do get stuck you might be lucky and they'll find your frozen corpse before the spring thaw.

Regardless of the season, four wheel drive doesn't mean you'll still be able to get where you're going. Too many folks have found out the hard way that all four wheel drive means is getting stuck deeper in the woods. Just because four wheel drive vehicles have more traction for getting moving, particularly in the snow, they don't stop any better than two wheel drive cars or trucks because all vehicles have four wheel braking. Inertia is a bitch.

A flooded road, isn't. If you can't see the surface of the road ahead of you because a river or stream has overrun its banks and washed over the road, there's no guarantee that the road is still there. If you like the role of a crash test dummy, go right ahead and give it a try. But don't be surprised if the road disappears from beneath your wheels and you find that you're now a boat, and a quickly sinking one at that.

Though a bit dated, this advice still applies: Cordless phones are nothing but an ornament if the electricity goes out. Have at least one wired phone somewhere in your house. And if you live in a town fortunate enough to have cell service, don't count on it being available if regular phone lines are knocked out by bad weather. Everyone will be trying to use their cellphones the same time you are and the cell site will be overloaded. That's assuming, of course, that the cell site is still functioning and hasn't been knocked out by the bad weather. Some additional (updated) advice: Unless it is absolutely necessary, text rather than call someone you're trying to reach. Texting takes a lot less bandwidth than a voice call and places less of a burden on the local cell site. Your message is more likely to get through.

Don't be bashful about asking a neighbor for help. The corollary to that is don't be bashful about offering a neighbor help. Sometimes they have knowledge, skills, or tools that you don't have and vice versa. You're all in this together.

Chainsaws are your friend. They have multiple uses and come in handy of you have to clear a fallen tree from across your driveway, car, or roof of your house. Just make sure you know how to use them and wear the proper protective gear – safety glasses, earplugs or muffs, leather gloves, shin guards, and a hard hat. They also come in handy when you're cutting up your soon-to-be firewood. In a pinch they can also be used to help dispose of evidence....

There are also tools you'll need for winter, some of which you'll only see around here. One is a snow shovel. There are many types, so you'll have to shop around to find the one that works best for you.

Another tool, nice to have, but not always necessary is a snowblower. If you have a long driveway or large parking area in front of your garage, the last thing you'll want to do is shovel it all by hand. A snowblower does the trick and is far cheaper than a snow plow. Of course you could always hire someone else to plow your driveway, but it's not as much fun as using your toy..uh..snowblower and you're entirely dependent on someone else's schedule.

Last, but not least, the one tool you'll need to buy, beg, borrow, or steal is a roof rake. It's not something you use to remove leaves from the roof, but for raking snow. “Now why would anyone want to rake snow?” you might ask. The last thing anyone wants is snow piling up on the roof. It's heavy and can get heavier if there is any rain or freezing rain after a snowfall. You don't want to find out how strong your roof really is by testing it to destruction. And then, there's something called ice dams.

Ice dams form as the snow on your roof melts. As the water from the melted snow reaches the edge of the roof it can refreeze, forming a ridge of ice, just like a dam across a river. As more snow melts and starts to back up behind the ice dam, the melt water can work its way under roof shingles and start leaking inside your house. It's can be expensive to fix and is damned inconvenient (no pun intended....well actually, yes it was). Snow rakes can remove the snow from your roof and help prevent roof collapse or ice dams. Roof rakes are far safer than going up to shovel the snow off your roof . Trust me, I know from first hand experience. I've got the two plates and twelve screws in my ankle and lower leg to prove it.


And so ends another episode of The Weekend Pundit's Guide To Country Living.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We had our first real hard frost overnight, as evidenced by the frost on the windshield of the trusty RAM 1500. It was the first time I saw the temperature reach below freezing here at The Gulch this fall. Obviously it won’t be the last.


I must state I do not like the change back to Standard Time, particularly in light of the fact that Standard Time only lasts a little over 4 months. The time change is disruptive, and nobody likes it. I know I prefer light in the afternoon when it benefits me and others rather than in the morning when it benefits few.

And then there’s this:

It’s time to end the madness!


From the Just When I Thought They Couldn’t Get Any Stupider department comes this latest missive from New York Governor Cuomo: We Didn’t Have Hurricanes or Tornadoes Before Climate Change.

Except of course for Hurricane Bob in 1991, Gloria in 1985, Belle in 1976, Agnes in 1972, Esther in 1961, Donna in 1960, Gracie in 1959, Connie in 1955, Carol and Hazel in 1954, or the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944.

This is the same clueless governor that banned new natural gas pipelines into New York then ordered the affected gas companies to hook up new customers even though they didn’t have enough gas to supply them.

It’s time for a regime change in New York.


Don’t you love these guys who assault elderly people who are wearing a MAGA hat? I guess they feel safer going after the elderly because they figure they can get away with it. That will work right up to the point where one of their elderly victims plugs them with a few rounds from the 9mm their assailant didn’t see.


It appears the Left is no longer trying to deceive the American public about its efforts to stifle free speech, particularly the speech of their political opponents. After all, it’s the only way they can maintain their narrative that they are the “One True Way” to utopia, even if their definition of utopia is the definition of hell for everyone else. If they have to kill the First Amendment to get their way, that’s fine with them.

In other words, [Twitter CEO Jack] Dorsey thinks that political candidates should only be able to communicate with voters if their messages are vetted by and filtered through mainstream media gatekeepers. There’s no doubt that he would gladly ban President Trump from the platform completely if he thought he could get away with it.


The Democrats view free speech as a threat to their political ambitions — and they’re absolutely right. But banning political ads on Twitter won’t be nearly enough to save the Democrats in 2020.

“Vetted by and filtered through mainstream media gatekeepers.” Hmm. And who will keep an eye on those gatekeepers? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or are we supposed to trust these gatekeepers to do their jobs without bias?

Not in a million years.


It sounds like Joe Biden is sticking by his belief that “the truth is more important than facts.” However, his definition of truth is likely very different from most other folks’ definition. His latest application of his belief is in regard to the unemployment and labor participation rate numbers. As he says:

"Look, go back to your old neighborhood. Find me middle-class folks who think they’re better off. Find me anybody out there who thinks their children are going to be as well off as they are," Biden said. "Do you think they are in fact actually able to benefit from what’s happening here?"

Biden believes "wages are stagnant and they’re going up slightly but not enough." That sentence alone is contradictory. If wages were stagnant then they wouldn't be going up at all. In a sense, he proved Trump's policies are working in that sentence alone.

I can easily find plenty of middle-class folks in both my present and previous neighborhoods that would disagree with Biden, be they lower-, middle-, or upper-middle class. I know middle-class folks all over this country and I dare say they would disagree with him as well.

Despite that, I believe Creepy Uncle Joe will likely disagree with them, telling them they’re wrong. After all, facts don’t matter to him at all, something he’s already told us.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the frost has made its presence known, more boats are filling up storage yards, and most of the leaves have no fallen from the trees.


Country Living - Part I

It appears that I once again must delve into the mysteries of how urban dwellers and Flatlanders can adapt to life in a rural state, and particularly New Hampshire. I have made similar posts in the past, but I have updated some of the information I am about to impart to you.

Much of what I'll cover also applies to Maine and, to a lesser extent, Vermont. You're on your own when it comes to other rural states, particularly those down south. Each area of the country has its own rules when it comes to country living, but there are also some universal rules that apply no matter which state you finally end up living in.

There are a lot of topics about 'country living' I can cover, many of which I've briefly written about before. But sometimes you have to repeat the lesson more than once before the information sinks in. Here's a list of do's and don'ts of country living. These are in order of descending importance, kinda sorta:

Once you've made the move to your new town, don't feel bashful about introducing yourselves to your neighbors, assuming they haven't already introduced themselves while they helped you unload the moving van.

Make the acquaintance of the Town Clerk, Tax Collector (many times it's the same person), the Police Chief, the Fire Chief, and at least one of the Selectman (or Town Councilor, depending upon the form of town government). This helps grease the skids and let's them know you're not too snooty to mingle with the locals.

Go to the dump. Many small towns have no garbage pickup and it's up to you to haul you're own trash to the dump/transfer station/etc. Don't hire someone else to do it for you because people will think two things – you're too damn lazy or snobbish to do it yourself; and you really aren't interested in town politics/social activities/etc. The one thing you have to realize is that in many small towns 90% of all town business is conducted at the dump, not the weekly Selectman's or Budget Committee meeting. If you want to find out what's going on in town, the dump is the place to go.

Read the weekly local paper. This is another place to find out when and where some of the social activities will be taking place. Also take close note of the Want Ads. You'll be amazed at some of the stuff you'll find there and can save yourself a bundle of cash when you're looking for that extra refrigerator or freezer or lawn mower or whatever.

Go to Town Meeting. This is very important. It only happens once a year so there's no excuse for not attending. Town meeting allows you to socialize as well as help decide what the town will spend in the coming year. Your first one or two years you should just listen and observe how things are done. If you can, latch on to somebody who can explain the whole thing to you. This will drastically shorten the learning curve.

Also, read the Town Report, usually mailed out to everyone in town well before town meeting. This gives you an idea of what the townspeople voted for and against the previous year as well as a list of what folks will be voting on this year.

And one last thing when it comes to town meeting: Never ever preface a statement with the phrase “Back where I/we come from....” This is the kiss of death for a newcomer. People in your new town don't care about where you came from, at least not during a debate over some warrant article. You're here now. If you insist on this kind of social suicide, be prepared to be immediately branded a “Flatlander” and never taken seriously again. (Note: There is only one exception to this rule – The phrase can be safely used if what you're going to say is going to be used as an example of why the town shouldn't vote for something. “Back where I come from, the town tried this and it was an utter disaster. It cost the town a ton of money to fix. Do you really want to do the same thing?”)

Find out which place serves the best breakfasts, then go there. Lots of people will dine out on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Ask them what place they'd recommend. You can make good contacts while schmoozing with the waitresses, cooks, or other patrons.

Use local contractors. Never mind that fancy construction firm, plumber, or electrician you've done business with in the past. Ask around and find somebody local. You'll find that they're just as good as the ones 'back home' and they'll probably cost less, too. They'll also be willing to come right out in an emergency. Sometimes the best places to ask is at that diner where you now have breakfast on Saturday mornings, or at town hall, the dump (or these days, the transfer station), or at the fire station. They'll know who's good and who to avoid.

If you're sending your kids to the local school, make sure you get involved with the school activities, and particularly the PTA or PTO. Get to know your kid's teachers. See them more often than just during parent-teacher conferences.

Get rid of the Lexus/BMW/Mercedes/Jaguar and get a more practical vehicle. Or if you're going to keep it, use it only when traveling long distance or on special occasions. SUVs are OK to a point (no Cadillac Escalades or Lincoln Navigators and the like), but pickup trucks are better. (It also makes it easier to haul your trash to the dump). A 4X4 pickup is even better, particularly during the winter as well as mud season.

Get used to the idea of dirt roads. Most small towns have 'em and many have more than a few. Don't expect the town to pave them just for your convenience. Most times it's cheaper to leave dirt roads as dirt roads. The town will grade them a couple of times a year to keep them from becoming too bumpy or rutted. Plymouth, where I resided, has about a 80/20 mix of paved and dirt roads. My home was off of a dirt road and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Get used to the idea of dark. You won't necessarily find streetlights along roads in many small towns except near the town center and at a couple of intersections. It can get dark, and I mean really dark at night. When you look up you'll be amazed at the number of stars you can see. Please try to keep it that way. The last thing you're neighbors need or want is you lighting up your property like Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. It will just annoy them and spoil the view of the night sky. (The folks who own the house just behind The Gulch are from away and tend to leave their outside lights on all night. They say it's because it will help keep burglars away, but I have to explain to them that most of those kinds of miscreants don't break into someone's home at night. They'll do it in broad daylight when nobody is home because it's easier to see and choose what stuff they're going to steal. Breaking in at night is likely to get a burglar shot by the homeowner.)

There are farms in small towns and they sometimes produce interesting smells. Get used to them. They've been here a lot longer than you and this is their livelihood. They won't take kindly to a newcomer trying to tell them what they should and should not be doing.

Sometimes there are also logging operations going on in some towns out in the country. Sometimes you'll see very big trucks loaded down with lots of logs. Get out of their way. With a full load they aren't going to stop very quickly and unless you're also driving a logging truck any argument over who has the right of way will end with them winning and you losing, big time.

Hunting is a fact of life. If you're a bunny-hugger and think hunting is wrong, keep it to yourself. Hunting is necessary to keep deer, moose, bear, turkeys, and other wildlife populations in check. If you don't want hunters on your property all you have to do is post your property with the proper signs at the proscribed height and intervals along the edge of your property. Also, don't go traipsing through the forest or fields wearing brown and white clothing during hunting season. It's a good way to end up dead or wounded. If you insist on taking your nature hikes during hunting season, remember these two words – International Orange. Vests and hats of this color are your best friend. So what if they make you look fat. At least you'll be alive to bitch about it.

Snow tires, your winter friend. Despite having your car/truck shod with all-season radials, you'll find that a good set of snow tires is worth the investment if you live in a part of the country where annual snowfall is measured in feet rather than inches. All-season radials are a compromise at best. Snow tires just plain work better in the snow. They can mean the difference between making it home safely or ending up in a ditch waiting for someone to (hopefully) pull you out before you become a corpsicle. Investing in a good set of tire chains is also suggested, but not required.

Food, particularly baked goods are always appreciated at the local firehouse, police station, town highway department, and town hall.

Bean suppers and pancake breakfasts are a mainstay of country living, whether they're put on by church groups, volunteer fire departments, or organizations like the Elks, the Masons, Odd Fellows, the Knights of Columbus, or others. They are good places to meet other townspeople, get a decent meal, and support community charities or civic associations. It's what's called 'networking', only you're doing it on a more personal level.

And yet another food related subject, in this case pizza and Chinese food deliveries – Don't count on it.

Gasoline, home heating oil, and propane. These will all become far more important to you than they have in the past, particularly in the winter months. You will learn to keep your gas tank at least half full. There are a number of reasons for this, one of the most important being your survival if you get caught out on the road in a winter storm. You will also learn the true worth of home heating oil and propane. Deliveries of these staples can be few and far between if you don't plan ahead. And if you don't plan well enough, you'll come to know your plumber all too well (frozen and/or burst water pipes).

Wells and septic systems are all you'll find in most small country towns. Many don't have a municipal water supply or sewage treatment plant. Your well is your water supply and the septic system takes care of your waste water. You will also become familiar the following terms: leach field, distribution box, Rid-X, submersible pump, well head, water softener, dry well, and pressure tank.

Cell phone service- In your dreams. While cell service is better than it was when I first covered this topic, it can still be spotty in some areas, and totally non-existent in others. It's something I warn folks about when they go out boating on Lake Winnipesaukee because there are a lot of areas on the lake where there is no cell service. The same is true for folks hiking the trails in an around New Hampshire.

Home security systems aren't really required unless your 'security system' consists of one or two middling to large dogs. Those fancy electronic systems send the wrong message to your neighbors. In this case it's “I don't trust any of you...”

I could go on and on ad infinitum in this post, but I think you catch the drift. If, after reading this, you still want to move 'to the country', then you're probably cut out for it. If any of this gives you the heebie-jeebies, then I suggest you keep your experiences of living in the country to those one or two weeks a year when you're on vacation.

I'll have more words of wisdom regarding living in the country in follow-on posts.