Things that just occurred to me, in no particular order

Posts tagged ‘conspiracy’


Let’s say you own a plot of land. Your neighbor dies and his heirs sell to a local developer.

Now that guy’s bringing a plan forward to turn the land on the other side of your fence into something. Could be a factory or a church or a chicken farm. It doesn’t matter what because it’s going to change your life drastically.

Of course, this local developer knows the process. He knows what forms to fill out and where to sign and what boards he needs to meet with before he can get started. So, it’s no surprise that this guy is halfway to breaking ground before you realize what’s on his mind.

From your perspective, it looks a lot like he getting a special deal and you raise holy hell. A few other neighbors do, too. You write a few letters, meet with a few local officials yourself and do what you can to unravel all that he’s done.

And suddenly, people start to pay attention and what looked like a slam dunk for this guy starts looking much less likely.

Now, from your point of view, it looks like a conspiracy. He greased all the right palms and settled the deal before you knew what happened. The officials must be on his side. “What happened to the public process?” you cry.

The thing is, it looks a lot like a conspiracy from his point of view, too. He’s invested a lot of money and done a lot of work to get to this point. And now, when there’s no turning back, it all starts to look different. It was anything but easy getting to this point, he says, but his  sure thing ain’t so sure anymore. Maybe some people stop returning his calls.  The officials must be on your side, he thinks.

About the only thing both would agree on is that is that something fishy is afoot. And they’d both be right.

It’s the way government works, top to bottom. Nobody is rewarded for doing their work early. Nothing is settled until the last vote is cast and counted and things can change on a dime. I’d gather it was that way in Ancient Greece, with some last-minute Athenian wheeling and dealing. And I guarantee it was that way back in the late 1700s when our Founding Fathers made their deals.

Keep that in mind this week when there’s a debt deal nationally or a zoning deal next door. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s just government.


Crazy season

Why did Shaws grocery store in Freeport devote precious shelf space to conspiracy theory. Who's behind it?

Why did Shaws grocery store in Freeport devote precious shelf space to conspiracy theory. Who's behind it? Who benefits? And why the cheese aisle?

It’s the time of year that you expect to see orange and black ghosts, witches and vampires along the aisles of the local supermarket. Halloween is a bare two months away everyone is  getting ready to celebrate some innocent anxieties.

But the cheese aisle at the Freeport Shaw’s caught me completely off guard. There, above the assorted hard Cheddars, Goudas and big balls of mozzarella, was a yellowed page torn from a newspaper, framed and surrounded by American flags. It compared the Lincoln-Kennedy assassinations, highlighting the similarities: both presidents were succeeded by Southern Democrats named Johnson; Lincoln’s assassin fled from a theater to hide in a warehouse while Kennedy’s assassin fled from a warehouse to a theater. That kind of thing.

It seems that they’d devoted a corner, socked away behind the cheerful autumn Halloween treats, for more adult anxieties and conspiracy theories.

I thought it was odd, until I began noticing similar, more subtle displays. The Home Depot, for example, has started replacing lawn furniture and grass mowers with gasoline powered generators, gun safes and other survival gear.

Popular Mechanics has devoted its entire October issue to surviving disasters. The cover even shows a man facing down an Apocalyptic sunset with a flashlight in his hand. Even Wal-Mart has moved the bottled water to the front, not to quench a summertime beach-thirst but to stock a midwinter survival chest in a corner of the basement.

The Home Depot changes, at least, makes sense in Maine. Winter is right around the corner with promises of ice storms, snow clogged roads and record high heating oil prices. The pastel-hued days of summer 2009, brief as they were, are gone for good.

But it’s more than common sense, stocking up. You get the feeling  that the stores are preparing for a long, paranoid winter of bad weather, swine flu and oil shortages.

And it goes beyond the weather. We have the entire “Birther” movement to contemplate as well as people freaking out about the president addressing school kids. And then, the Today Show devoted a Labor Day morning segment to UFO conspiracy theories.

The answer is clear my friends. We’re gearing up for a serious late Autumn wig out.

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