Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day

Turkey and Trimmings
Turkey and Trimmings

Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we are sure to have a very enjoyable holiday this year. Turkey is not the only way to celebrate; eat what you like! Visiting friends and family is a wonderful way to share the day and to make it memorable. I’m posting this today because I have a feeling that things are going to be a bit hectic on Thursday.

Thank You with Thread

We had a lovely surprise package arrive at our door this week. What a nice way to say thank you. We were a bit surprised to see them so soon (we just assumed they would take longer). I hope the towel fairy won’t mind if we say thanks in this post. They have already been pressed into service.

Don and Gale Towels
His and Hers

Photographs at the Senator Inn

Gale and I decided to have lunch on Saturday at the Senator Inn in Augusta (at Cloud 9). We had heard that they were hanging pictures from members of the Capitol Area Camera Club, so we asked the waitress if we could speak with the person responsible for managing the pictures. As luck would have it, there had been a recent change in management (Roger Bintliff has recently become General Manager) and we were introduced to Aaron Lachance, who offered us the opportunity to hang three of Gale’s photos at the front desk!

Gale's Three Pictures at Front Desk at Senator Inn, Augusta, ME
Gale Davison's Pictures at front desk at the Senator Inn, Augusta

I returned on Sunday with business cards for the pictures and took this picture (with Jason Wentworth posing at the front desk in front of Gale’s photographs) to share with you. Incidentally, the meal at Cloud 9 was fabulous (and their reputation for great service is well deserved).

Learning the Lessons of Spam All Over Again

It seems that I have fallen for it again. Every once in a while, years ago, I would admonish my relatives for replying to emails that were clearly of dubious authenticity (at least they could have checked with Snopes first). But I took a sucker punch to the head with this new WordPress blog before I added the Akismet plugin.

I have gotten several legitimate comments to my posts, but apparently I had some trouble screening out the bogus ones. If I am overreacting, perhaps the true human author will respond to this post and clear things up. When I first created the blog, there was a Hello World placeholder post (which I decided to keep as part of my learning curve). Several of the comments are from me or someone I know (or the placeholder comment from WordPress). But on 27 Oct 2010 I got a comment from Suchmaschine (which turns out to be a German web search engine); I thought the language was a bit awkward, but knowing no better, I approved it. I thought perhaps the author was just being very sarcastic. Later on, I noticed that comments from friends and family actually had meaningful names and email addresses that I could easily recognize. Suchmaschine listed google.com as its web site and a hotmail.com email address. I got a comment from Italy, so I thought nothing more about it (because that one actually had a link back to an Italian web site that seemed to match the information of the comment).

At about this time (with the site up for about a week or so), I finally had a chance to notice the Spam page for comments and took a look at them. This was a true revelation. On 24 Oct 2010 I published my Sunrise at Bass Harbor post (backdating it to 12 Oct, the day after the events discussed and the day after the pictures were taken). I got some feedback from Sichere Geldanlage 2010 on 26 Oct and wrote a separate post about the K-Meleon browser mentioned in the comment [Browser Rendering Issues]. Chip Bennet actually started to research the issue. But I am now coming to believe that this may all be just spam!

Example of Clever Spam
Example of Clever Spam - K-Meleon browser issue

I haven’t contacted the author of the NextGEN plugin yet (and I think I will wait a while until I clear up this whole spam mystery). It turns out that there is quite a lot of spam coming out of Germany (and most of the spam seems to have a hotmail account connected to it). One more example (this one was caught by Akismet and appears to be a reply to Sichere Geldenlage 2010):

Spam Replying to Spam
Spam Replying to Spam?

Clearly I have a ways to go on this learning curve. If I get reliable answers to these mysteries, I will post them here. [On 10 Nov I noticed another interesting connection between the spam comments: same IP address.]

Same IP Address, Different Names
Same IP Address, Different Names

We’re not in Kansas, any more, Toto!

As a life-long Democrat, you can imagine how I feel this morning. Or even yesterday morning. Today is a new day, of course, and we will all have to learn the new political calculus. As a public servant, I will continue to look for ways to provide value for taxpayer dollars. I am hoping that with the campaign behind us, we can roll up our sleeves to work for the people instead of for the egos of politicians. That remains to be seen, but so far the public utterings are encouraging locally (if not nationally). Here in the beautiful State of Maine we have a big challenge in front of us; I hope we can meet the challenge sensibly.

And I hope the president will use this opportunity to find a way to bring effective relief to our national job deficit problem; perhaps he can devise a way to stop helping out the wealthy (who surely don’t need any more help at this point). I think this election, at least in part, reflects anger about helping out banks while people lose their homes and their jobs. I’m not sure what the world would have looked like with a banking system in shambles, but if we don’t figure out how to solve the housing and unemployment problems, fixing health insurance (and keeping the banking system afloat) will turn out to have been just another band-aid.

Hope Springs Eternal

Early voter at the polls
Early Voter at the Polls

I spotted the camera crew as I approached the table, but was too busy with the business at hand to hear the shutter click behind me. Now my coat and hat have been immortalized as I exercised my right to vote early Tuesday morning. I always feel good after voting, even if our form of government doesn’t always make us happy. You never know whether your vote will actually amount to much, but in this case (as I was to learn much later) it could have been the deciding vote in a close election! Obviously I wrote this after the results were in, but I knew some of you would appreciate the photo.