I had taken a break.
I needed to clear my mind.
I had to do my taxes.
Have I ever told you I hate paying taxes?
Now I’ve done it.
The IRS SWAT Team is at the door.
I had taken a break.
I needed to clear my mind.
I had to do my taxes.
Have I ever told you I hate paying taxes?
Now I’ve done it.
The IRS SWAT Team is at the door.
In recent years, for me, it has been thousands of words. I write daily and I post essays at least three days a week (but not on Gasping for Ayer for quite some time).
Earlier today, I was writing a post on my Defiant Wellness blog about goal setting and I recalled a similar theme that I had written on GFA. So I went back and did a search to discover that it was an essay that I wrote exactly one year ago regarding my attempt to build or break 12 Habits in 12 months in 2012. That prompted me to poke around the old GFA site that had remained dormant for many months. I also checked my readership statistics. I was shocked.
I hadn’t written a post since June, yet I am averaging over 500 pages views a month. In fact, one day in December, I had over 400 hits. This is bizarre.
In the above mentioned post of 12-in-12, I closed the essay with the forecast that perhaps GFA would come to an end in 2013. Here I am a year later, with the domain facing renewal and I wonder what I should do. I confess, my lust for politics has made its way to the dustheap. I have little hope for our political process, as long as human beings are involved. So writing about civic issues can really be a downer, even for a perky guy like me. However, with the upcoming Selectmen’s Race becoming a fascinating game of Musical Chairs, I would hate to surrender this pulpit prematurely.
Perhaps GFA can be reborn in some new fashion. I find having a blog to be a much more permanent piece of real estate than Facebook posts or Tweets (if you can consider any digital medium permanent). I guess we shall see within the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, dig out the snow, be observant of the winter parking ban, and please have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
Our highly tarnished Lieutenant Governor has resigned. He joins the company of LtGovs from Florida and Nebraska, who also resigned in 2013. Three LtGovs in four months, that has to be some sort of record, eh?
Tim has finally established himself as a role model. One who recognizes that when things no longer pass the smell test, that perhaps a retreat is in order. Perhaps Mr. Murray can give our elitists in Washington some tips on resigning in disgrace. Timmy, drive safely.
Let me congratulate our newest member of the Ayer Board of Selectmen, Jannice Livingston. I honestly didn’t have a clue how this race would shape up, but I am pleased to see a fresh face and a cheerful disposition come to the table to represent us.
Ms. Livingston now has a very steep learning curve as she get’s immersed in the issues, the personalities and the politics of the Ayer Town Hall. Be careful what you wish for Jannice, you just might get it. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the only thing worse than losing an election in Ayer, is winning one. The other day I posted that we needed a Miracle in Ayer Town Hall, though I am not expecting Divine intervention in Ayer, I’d settle for rational thinking.
Congrats also go to the embattled Treasurer, Stephanie Gintner, who has survived to fight another day. I believe she was able to muster votes as an underdog, due to the persistent attacks on her office by the Board of Selectmen for the past two years.
My hope for this town is that now we can set aside some of the controversy and actually get something done for the benefit of the citizens. For starters, I hope when I leave for work on Wednesday morning I do not see any campaign signs. It is May 1, and it would be like to have an unobstructed view of the daffodils in bloom.
Yes, I know, we do not have a race for Town Clerk. But I saw this sign in Merrimac, Massachusetts last week, and I thought it was quite appropriate for the contested offices in the Town of Ayer.
After watching one candidates forum and moderating another, I learned more about what I don’t want than what I do want. Or perhaps I should say whom I don’t want.
I must admit that I am not too pleased with the status quo, but then four years of Hope and Change hasn’t thrilled me one bit.
I am pleased that we have four people interested in one Selectman seat, and three people desiring the Treasurer seat, and I appreciate their willingness to serve. However, I believe that regardless of who prevails at the polls on Tuesday, it will indeed take a Miracle to straighten out the shenanigans in Ayer Town Hall.
Like most people in the greater Boston Area, I was shocked by the cowardly terrorist attacks on innocent bystanders at this week’s 117th running of the Boston Marathon.
That evening I sent a message to a friend expressing that my fear was not of the depraved people who would do such a thing, but for how our government would seize this opportunity to further trample our Constitutional rights.
My prediction came true on Friday, when martial law was declared under the Governor’s politically correct euphemism of “shelter in place”. I was in awe of the incredible state and federal resources that were not conducting a regular police investigation, but rather a full-fledged military invasion of Boston Suburbs.
During the winter, when Gov. Patrick declared a State of Emergency and he outlawed driving on the roads except for emergency personnel, I commented to my wife that he was performing a “dry run” of martial law. This is New England, for goodness sake. People deal with blizzards all the time. I’ll gladly accept a suggestion or recommendation to stay home in a storm. I’ll exercise personal discretion and take a vacation day to stay home in a storm. But I defy the government to tell me I can’t go out in the snow. But hey, it worked. Millions of gullible people “obeyed” his excellency, the Governor. The stage was set.
Fast forward to April 15th, all hell breaks loose. Volunteers and First Responders acted in a truly heroic fashion to aid those in need of care. Fortunately, because it was race day, there were many resources on the scene to be activated immediately. The huge volume of video footage from smartphones and building surveillance cameras caught several suspicious characters who “could have been” transporting a bomb, but it was the eye-witness description of Mr. Jeff Bauman, a victim of the bombing, that led to the proper identification of the alleged perpetrators. Once they were identified, the proliferation of social media all but guaranteed their eventual capture.
I am most appreciative to all the dedicated police officers who were willing to place themselves in harms way to apprehend these villains. But I am extremely leery of politicians who will use tragedies such as this to prevent freedom to move about the city, freedom to do commerce, freedom to assemble, illegal searches and the like.
While I am comforted that one suspect was apprehended and the other killed, I do not believe that the end justifies the means.I am certain that this essay will enrage some people, so be it. I believe our Constitutional Rights were codified for a events such as this. And I believe the rights of over one million people in the Boston are were grossly violated by our state and federal authorities, thus setting the stage for future actions whenever they deem appropriate.
Now for those who are cursing at me, for not waving the Boston Banner, please note this: I am jubilant that these cowardly thugs are off the street. But while Bostonians were locked down, under martial law, there were other thugs in Washington, such as Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who was suggesting that the Marathon Bombing was perfect justification for the use of attack drones on civilian populations. While Bostonians were having their rights infringed by the government, King Barry was taking advantage of America being distracted, exploring this as an opportunity to further squash the Second Amendment through Executive Orders.
This week has truly been tragic for hundreds of people directly killed or maimed by these heinous villains. Many thousands more have been traumatized by what they have witnessed. But millions will be affected for generations by the continual erosion of our civil rights, as guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as citizens adopt an attitude of ambivalence in exchange for alleged government-provided “security”.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
The Quote of the week is read by Amanda Thatcher, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s granddaughter. The passage is from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians 6:14-18
(I confess, I wish she had read through to verse 20).
Words are so inadequate to describe the sorrow for the victims of these horrific acts of terror upon our innocent friends and neighbors in Boston.
Words are inadequate to describe the anger and frustration in dealing with a cowardly, invisible enemy.
So we mourn. We pray. But we never surrender to fear.
My first run in with Jeremy Callahan was rather contentious. We were at a Town Meeting and I was fighting for weed treatment for Flannagan Pond. I didn’t know Jeremy from Adam. One thing was very clear, this kid and I were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. I am Right, and I am right, Jeremy is Left and he is wrong. Well that was my opinion at the end of that meeting.
Since that time, I have grown rather fond of Jeremy. Though we do not agree on many political issues, I trust him on issues related to what is in the best interest for the Town of Ayer. I trust that he has no hidden agenda. He is passionate and he is transparent. If you want his opinion on a subject you can look on the Ayer Yahoo Groups, the Discus forum for Nashoba Publications, or you can just ask him.
This is not to suggest that he is always right, or that I always agree with his position on matters, but I do trust him to tell me the truth as he sees it. That is one of the reasons I liked having him on the Ayer Planning Board. I thought he was a breath of fresh air on this board. As a community we had an opportunity to instill some progressive ideas (not a euphemism for liberal) in zoning and planning philosophies and bylaws. This would be particularly valuable at a time when new home construction seems to be at an all time high, creating an exponential demand upon services such as water, sewer, road acceptance and school attendance.
But the Ayer Planning Board seems to prefer flying under the radar. Meeting minutes have gone for years without seeing the light of day. I recently cited an example of a set of meeting minutes from August 2012, that was missing an entire agenda item, discussion and vote regarding a property donation being offered to the Town. I would suggest you read this, if you missed it the first time around.
A quick summary of this incident: Mr. Phil Berry came to the Planning Board and offered land on West Main Street to the Town for $1. The DPW has an easement to the property and would like to expand their operation there, and owning the land outright would have been beneficial to the Town. The Planning Board voted unanimously to support this purchase and told Mr. Berry that they would write a letter to the Board of Selectmen encouraging the purchase.
This is all on film, yet the meeting minutes do not show Mr. Berry even attending the meeting. It makes no mention of his proposal to donate the land for $1. It makes no mention of the unanimous vote of the Board. It is like the meeting never even happened; except it did and you can view it and transcribe every word that was said.
When Jeremy took his Chairman, and the Planning Board administrator to task for this, they responded the way they have for his entire tenure: they ignored him and locked him out of any process.
This Planning Board’s failure to follow through, followed by their tacit denial, forced this to not be included on the warrant for Town Meeting. After months of finger-pointing and delays, Mr. Berry sold the property to Calvin Moore and the residents of the Town of Ayer were denied the opportunity to weigh on in the matter at Town Meeting. When Jeremy took his Chairman, and the Planning Board administrator to task for this, they responded the way they have for his entire tenure: they ignored him and locked him out of any process.
This is indicative of how this Board has operated since Jeremy was elected. The administrator and the Chairman have treated Jeremy like a mosquito that simply needs to be swatted aside or slapped down whenever he gets too annoying for them. The behavior of this board is despicable. A majority of the Ayer electorate decided that Jeremy Callahan would represent them on the Ayer Planning Board. The incumbents and administrator decided they had reserved the right to “lock him out”. Jeremy was elected to the Planning Board, but he was not welcomed to the board and he was treated like a leper any time he raised a question regarding the standard operating procedures.
After a couple of years beating his head against the wall, Jeremy finally surrendered. Life is too short to spin your wheels sitting in a room of people who have no desire to cooperate, but only to protect their turf. Jeremy’s departure is a loss for the Town of Ayer and it is a disgrace to the Unplanning Board. With that said, I believe we have not heard the last of this kid.
There was a time in our nation when people cherished Sunday as a day of rest; a day to worship our Creator.
Those who were on the fence were CEO’s (Christmas & Easter Only). There was a time when being a godly man was considered a prerequisite to attaining leadership of any form.
I am not “preaching” to you, I am “preaching” to myself. The whole purpose of the Gasping for Ayer blog is to comment on the political machinations going on all around us. While wallowing in the cesspool of politics it is easy to forget that this whole world and all it’s kings are temporal. Good Friday through Easter is a wonderful time to reflect upon the corrupt nature of man and the holy nature of God.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1.1) … and everything contained within it, including man. God is all powerful, all-knowing, just and holy. I am not. God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” I am a man, one of God’s creatures. Though I am created in His image, I am proud, rebellious and sinful. I place myself above God. I define righteousness on my own terms. But God says, “None is righteous, no, not one;” One day I will stand before God to face His wrath, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” I will be judged by my own righteousness, which is filth in God’s sight, or by the righteousness of another, Christ.
This is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That the Son of God, became man, he lived a perfect life, in full obedience to His Father. He died a violent death on the cross, as a substitution for me. He was buried and on the third day, he arose from the dead, overcoming sin and death. By His death and resurrection, he has taken my guilt upon himself, and God’s wrath intended for me. He has covered me, a sinner, with His “robe of righteousness”, such that I am seen holy in God’s sight. I am saved by grace, through faith, not of works, it is a gift of God”. My response is to humbly and gratefully submit to Jesus as my Savior and to trust and obey Him as my Lord. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I no longer struggle under the burden of my own works, but trust in the finished work of my Lord.
So this why we celebrate “Easter”, more specifically why we celebrate “Resurrection Day”.
So why do I sweat the small stuff regarding the politics of Ayer, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the former United States of America? Because my flesh is weak.
So for you looking for the Quote of the Week, this is it:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
I am saved by grace…, I am gasping for grace.