Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated AdventuresFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am a Kate DiCamillo fan; I find her writing to be compelling. This book fit the bill. Camillo’s phrases really stood out in this novel. Each character was served well with diction. I found reading this pleasurable because of the language used.

Unfortunately, this award-winning book lacked a compelling theme. Unlike Despereaux or Winn-Dixie, the theme here was lackluster. As a reader, I kept expecting to have these seemingly disparate threads tied together at the end. It didn’t all come together for me.

It seems DiCamillo played a different perspective of Irving’s “keep passing the open windows” idea with this novel. As we learn through the interaction of Flora and the squirrel, open windows permit life to enter, even bad episodes. As long as the windows are open, life occurs.

The reading is rather pleasurable, the deeper meaning of the book are lacking for me.

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Looking for Taxes

It is amazing that government seeks new ways to tax citizens. It’s not enough that taxes are already in place. No, government looks to become more creative in what can be taxed.

Next week, voters in Pennsylvania will elect a governor. Incumbent Tom Corbett is challenged by Tom Wolf. I don’t pretend to have paid much attention. Someone I know, Ken Krawchuk, is also running on the Libertarian ticket.

The political ads are all over the television. This one stood out to me:

At 16 seconds in, Wolf complains that Pennsylvania is the only state (even though it’s a commonwealth) that “doesn’t charge oil and gas companies an extraction tax.”

That should be something heralded, not despised.

Why is it bad not to tax these companies?

Most folks tout how well Pennsylvania is doing in the energy business. Here is an article from liberal US News.

Pennsylvania counties with hydrofractured gas wells have performed better across economic indicators than those that have no wells.

But Wolf only wants to play politics. Fracking is bad and we need to tax it. Sheesh . . .

Again, I call for a conversation to take place to set the tax rate that will fund government. Establish it and then force government to live within those means without the ability to raise the rate. If government needs more cash, grow the economy to build ratables.

Wol deserves to lose for this alone.

Kick the Bucket

Kick Bucket Bag

I’m not ready to go just yet. But as I prepared for my surgery last month, I was quite nervous about the anesthesia. I did not want to be completely put out. As I worried about this, a nurse came in and told me to undress and put on the hospital gown. All my stuff was to go into this bag.

Do you see that bag? It’s called a Kick Bucket liner. What a way to calm the nerves of a shaky patient.

Millville Is RAD No More

The Revenue Allocation District (RAD) that Millville spearheaded in 2006 was eliminated Tuesday.

City commission voted in favor of terminating RAD 4-0, with Mayor Michael Santiago absent from the meeting.

According to email correspondence from Chief Financial Officer Marcella D. Shepard, the application to eliminate the district must be filed before Wednesday in order to meet the deadline for the Local Finance Board’s Dec. 10 meeting.

The RAD was controversial throughout its life. The district was arbitrarily drawn and re-drawn. While it is commendable to want the city to be in better shape, it failed miserably. Tax dollars were doled out to some folks but not to others. That is inherently unfair. Carl Johnson was able to fix up his house and then sell it to relocate out of state. Me? I received no such luxury.

In 2010 then-Commissioner (now Freeholder) Joe Derella stated that taxes had to rise because there was nothing to cut. As I contended, there was the RAD. According to Commissioner Quinn:

There is no longer enough money being raised in the district to cover the RAD bond, according to Quinn, and keeping the RAD program would have led to a 2.5 cent increase to the tax rate.

Obviously, we can conclude that Derella was not honest when he “served” Millville.

“I've been a searcher, I've been a fool”