Widespread shortage of labor

By David Grima | Aug 31, 2017

Here is a recent item lifted from the British press with very little effort on my part, which I thought might amuse several of you:

“A farmer whose piglets were saved from a barn fire has served the animals up as sausages to thank the firefighters who rescued them.

“The baby pigs and two sows were freed by firefighters from Pewsey in Wiltshire when a barn went up in flames in February.

“The farmer, Rachel Rivers, promised she would present the firefighters with organic sausages when the animals were slaughtered for their meat. Six months later she did just that and the firefighters cooked the bangers on a barbecue.

“However, the farmer and firefighters have faced criticism from some who have found the arrangement a little queasy.

“Rivers, who farms near Pewsey, accepted that some vegetarians and animal rights campaigners would not be happy. But she said: ‘This was just a token gesture to the fire service. They were over the moon with them.’”

* * * * *

We live in cosmopolitan times, in which the small-world nature of our dear planet shows up in many different ways. Take, for example, this case in which mention was made last week of a restaurant in little ol’ Rockland, in an article published online by the Arab news network Al Jazeera.

The writer, Jim Walsh, is described as an expert in international security and a senior research associate at the MIT Security Studies Program.

“This week, the United States and its ally South Korea began large-scale military exercises, and North Korea responded by threatening ‘merciless retaliation.’ This follows Pyongyang's recent back-and-forth over whether to strike Guam and President Trump's warning that North Korea was facing a future of ‘fire and fury.’

“Not surprisingly, people are a little worried. I received an email from an old high school friend. We had not corresponded in a while. The email comprised two words: ‘Save us.’

“My friend knows that I have worked on North Korea and nuclear weapons for more than 15 years and that I have, in fact, been to the DPRK (Democratic Republic of Korea) to discuss nuclear policy.

“‘I’m on vacation in Maine. You're going to have to handle this one,’ I replied with a smile.

“He wasn’t the only one asking. Facebook friends, journalists, relatives. There was even a guy at the Home Kitchen Cafe in Rockland, Maine, who recognized me and asked a waitress to approach me on his behalf. I walked over, and we chatted for a minute. He explained that he thought it was a bad time for the U.S. and South Korean military exercises before returning to his Reuben sandwich.”

* * * * *

Speaking of local places in the news, I received word that the Berry Manor Inn in Rockland is among several New England hostelries that offer a package deal for lovers who wish to elope.

This tantalizing snippet appeared in the Boston Globe, a newspaper said to be printed several miles south of here.

* * * * *

I need to explain that I did not win the multi-million-dollar jackpot last week, just in case you were wondering.

Who knows what I would have done with the spare cash if I had won, but at least one citizen told me exactly what she would do if she were to win. This was a clerk at Maritime Farms in the Blessed South End. She said that she would spend the money on a homeless shelter.

* * * * *

Speaking of Lord Trumpleton, my much-maligned presidential buddy, there has been much talk of late about getting the poor fellow impeached. Many assume that impeachment means automatically being kicked off the job, but of course it doesn’t. Slick Willy was impeached, was he not?

But one way or another, people seem to be fantasizing that poor Lord Prez Trumpleton will fall in some kind of Romanoff-style palace coup, or whatever the equivalent might be in modern America.

So, just to demonstrate my faith in the old fellow, I placed a $10 bet with Frank that Trumpleton will serve out his full four-year term. Frank, who was practicing one of his Thanksgiving Day parade balloon impersonations, took the bet.

* * * * *

By the way, if anybody else needs a presidential pardon in the next four years, just talk to me. I can arrange it for a mere handful of cash and a good sob story.

* * * * *

A miracle of physics has occurred in the South End.

The hollow steel sculpture made of railroad spikes that sits above Sandy Beach has been found to have a basketball inserted within its interior. The trouble is, the basketball is bigger than any of the spaces between the railroad spikes that so cleverly makes up the spherical sculpture.

How could this be?

It’s like one of those Sherlock Holmes mysteries, in which a body is found within a room that is locked from the inside, and in which suicide is easily ruled out. How did the killer get in?

I have a theory about the basketball, and how it got inside the sculpture. Can you figure it out, dear reader?

* * * * *

The South End Tomato Lady says the tomatoes are six weeks behind schedule this summer. Certainly the weather has been relatively mild, here in our fair city.

* * * * *

Despite the mildness of the weather, it has been full steam ahead for those who work in the local food service and tourism industries.

The widespread shortage of labor, based on a 42-year low rate of unemployment in Maine, has caused many a business owner to tear handfuls of hair from his or her head this summer. Last month, Knox County tied with Cumberland (I think) for having the lowest unemployment rate in the state, at 2.9 percent.

There just aren’t enough workers to be found to keep the show running at full tilt, and employers have been heard begging absolute strangers to please come and work for them.

I know of one business owner who has been going out of state to recruit workers, and housing them in order to make sure they stay around, he has so much business and so few native workers.

But this also means that the people who are working here are often having to work very much harder, doing extra shifts and longer shifts, leading even some mild-mannered employees to use strong language and to exhibit signs of sheer physical and mental exhaustion.

* * * * *

A neighbor from Rockland told me on Saturday she came within an inch of having the founder and leader of the American Nazi Party as her godfather.

As mentioned last week, George Lincoln Rockwell grew up partly in the Boothbay region, and was friendly with my neighbor’s father, a network newsman.

She told me that only a serious accident, which caused Rockwell’s personality to change bizarrely, made her father change his mind about appointing him as her godfather. It was some time after that that he became a U.S. Nazi. He died in 1967.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Sep 05, 2017 15:15

Your informative news always tickles my funny bone. You missed your calling. You should have been a high school teacher. Students would laugh all the way to the all "A"s honor board.

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