Friday, August 31, 2012

Riding the Dog

My collegiate years were spent in western New York State, and like it or not, I found myself riding 'the dog' a lot. I think I flew back to Maine twice over those years. The quickest of all the scheduled runs seemed to be the Greyhound that left Rochester around 2:30 in the afternoon and arrived back in Portland, if everything went smoothly, sometime around noon the following day. Basically, it was a 22 hour trip, that I took for Christmas break and then again in May to end the year. Thanksgiving and Spring Break were usually spent with friends near school. Making that trip twice a year was enough for me. Throw in a few variables like snow storms, mechanical problems, and rerouted buses and even a mundane trip got interesting. The nights were long, the seats were greasy to your head, and the food was barely edible. Books, magazines and just watching the New York Thruway and Massachusetts fly by in the darkness kept me company for hours. I do believe my love of driving in the late night hours, watching the dim lights in houses and wondering all the while what these folks were doing in their lives, was given birth on these trips. The voyages were long, but the arrival home was always worth the aggravation. Bow Wow!

ps. Just checked the Greyhound Bus Line schedule. The trip these days takes just under 11 hours for about $123.00. Back then a one way ticket went for about $32.00. Not bad.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cut Flowers

As summer begins to fade around these parts and the bees start to attack the bamboo blooms, it's time to be thinking autumn. I hate to do that, but I've got enough of the realist blood in me to say it's true. There are other signs. The small leaves of the tree, that holds one end of the clothesline, have been fluttering to the ground since the winds came at the start of the week. The grass, that I almost believe I moved each week in July and August, is really taking its time to make work for me. It's been almost two weeks since I fired up the lawn tractor to take the 11/2 hour trip around the yard. The dragonflies have invaded our yard. Seemingly, dive-bombing us as we leave the back door. By 4 PM the back deck is devoid of the warm steady sun of even 2 weeks ago. Finally, I checked the covered woodpile out back yesterday, and the drying wood whispered the words, "we are ready". It has the 'smell' too. I know that aroma well. Autumn is on its way to us. The harbinger of the not too distant flakes of snow.

"Ahhh, seasons change with the scenery
Weaving time in a tapestry"
Simon and Garfunkel

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Now, that's some serious barbed wire. A brief history of the barb follows. A story of it seems to go back to 1863, when a man named Michael Kelly ran some fencing with sturdy wire that he attached sharp points to. He thought a 'prick' to an animal would keep them in or out. Later in 1874 or so, Joseph Gliddens  got a patent for a type of wire fence that he called "The Winner" and along with a fellow farmer created the Barb Fence Company. Fast forward to WW1. Recently, son provided me with quite a lot of information that he gathered watching the History Channel on the importance of this little pricky wire. Soldiers ran it above and around trenches they had dug to prevent the enemy from getting close to them. They even carried it from place to place on the battle front and rolled it in the way of advancing troops. Getting their clothing and weapons stuck in the stuff must have been frustrating and surely added to the dangers and rigors of wartime infantry fighting. I guess, to some degree, you could say that lil' prick served its role in changing the course of history. Just a small prick...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fab Taxi

Released September 29, 1969, Abbey Road was the 11th studio album by the Fab Four. Did you happen to catch The Today Show during the Olympics? No, I'm not going to rip them, as others have done, for their coverage. It's pat on the back time. They attempted to recreate famous photographs from history. They took on the incredible Michael Jordan's air slam, leaving the floor at the foul line and slamming it home, the Buzz Aldrin famous visor photo of Neil Armstrong and Charlie Chaplin's famous still on the set of "The Kid". While in London, they also tackled the iconic cover to The Beatles' Abby Road, with Matt Lauer as Paul, Savannah Guthrie as John, Al Roker as Ringo and Natalie Morales as George. From a distance they didn't look bad; up close, no way! They tried to duplicate the scene down to dotting the last i. They even dug up a feller that was standing idly by his car in the distance. Google it and see if you can find one obvious mistake. Elenka did. They left out the cigarette Paul was holding in his right hand. Really, a glaring error, if you ask me. Why would they do this? They couldn't have missed it. Oh well, a pretty good  job with a classic album cover. Love "Oh! Darling" and all of side 2.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I came a cross this on a wall downtown. It sounds like some sort of play that Tom Brady would call in the huddle. Pliers left, 72, hex, break. I'm still a bit confused about it. If it's graffiti, then it's the neatest street art I've seen in a long time. Sometimes I roll over at night and find myself back at Cloutier's Amoco, searching desperately for my pliers or wire cutters. When the paper bundles were dropped off the truck each afternoon, they were secured by crisscrossed wires that held my package of 75 or so Portland Evening Expresses together. You needed one of these tools to cut the wires, pack your bag with papers and get on your way. My route was 15 or so in our back neighborhood then straight down Forest Avenue taking in all the side streets. Leo's was straight down Stevens Avenue covering all the streets and roads off that main drag. Often, we raced, walking... ah, running, biking and in February using our sleds. Deliver all your papers successfully and meet at Vivian's for a burger and Coke. We were both pretty good at it. If the weather cooperated and the fates were smiling upon us that afternoon, we usually were done and drinking our sodas within 35 minutes. We were good!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sand Print

Sometimes you find a gift. I spent last Tuesday evening on Brandy Pond with my cousin Jane and her family summering from New Jersey. As the sun started creeping to bed, I took a walk along the water's edge to watch some of the her grandkids frolicking in the evening's fading light. The sunset brought some magical light to the water and the distant dock. It also lit some of the sand at my feet. I was looking at the classic sunset dancing on the placid pond and almost missed some subtle coloring at my feet. What do they say about preserving our wilderness? Leave only footprints?

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Seen here is the figurehead of the USCGC Eagle (WIX- 327) (ex SSS Horst Wessel), while it was visiting the city earlier in the month. Back in my days at Lincoln Junior High School, I loved playing in the school's flag football league. I got interested in it after having played some in gym class. The afternoon league games were in my backyard at Gulliver's Field, and that made it even better. After signups, a draft of players was held by the advisor, and the teams were set. Each team had a captain and 7 players. B. Martel was our team's captain. He was the quarterback, and I played halfback. As the season progress, we did quite well. We were unbeaten after 10 games. We ended the season tied with the Vikings for first place and played them in a Championship Game on a drizzly October afternoon. Final outcome? We got crushed! So how do I pull this altogether? Easy. Touchdown! We were the Eagles!

Friday, August 24, 2012


This stack of steel rebar was piled along side a favorite Fore Street breakfast spot recently. It is used as a tensioning device in many concrete and masonry projects to lend strength to the structure. There are times in my life where a good piece of reinforcing steel might come in very handy, to help with durability and strength, as I pursue an ongoing problem. Not realistic perhaps, but metaphorically speaking, it might be just what the doctor ordered. Strength is a quality that allows us to persevere when times get challenging. Let a little rebar in your life!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's time to push off. A new adventure awaits today. Set sail. Renew. Refresh. Rekindle. Dreams are out there for the taking. Throw your ol' lasso around one of those distant stars and take a ride. Make a plan. Keep to the plan. Plan for the unexpected. Forge ahead. Seek your path. Try that seldom tread upon trail through the thicket. Don't be afraid to get beat up a bit. In the long run, it might be worth more than you might imagine. You never know what you might discover about the world around you and yourself. So throw those 'life templates' away. Pack your essentials and head up river. Your next adventure is just a push away. Push off!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Street Tar

There was sadness at the edge of town. There was no joy in Mudville. That ol' happiness can sneak through any door you didn't think you had left open. Into each of our lives, there is always sprinkled gladness and unhappiness, often not in equal amounts. Putting pieces of good fortune and trying times together is a puzzle we're all faced with. There are many crossroads. Decisions seem to be around every corner some days. Sometimes events are just thrust upon us. What to do; what to do! I got to thinking about this the other day when I learned of a modern fable of sorts. You see there was this 'cinderella boy' who took a mysterious trip from a simple, mundane life to one of great treasured destiny, almost at the snap of a finger. He looked in a mirror and said, "Is this really me? Could I really be the one?" Yes, he truly was the one; picked to be special. His friends and family all looked at him, and stated he was sincerely a very lucky guy. They all wished him well! (You probably have a pretty good idea where this tale is going. Right?) There were trials and tribulations and soon his star crashed, totally out of his control. It was a ride, though short-lived. I ran into him last week, at a local store. Though our time was brief, we caught up fast. As he was walking out of the door, into his new life, he briefly turned and said, "I'd trade my life for yours, right now, even up." His eyes were etched with sadness. You could plainly see; there were pieces of his puzzle missing. Life goes on!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lost Rock

I took a walk up back the other day. If you've ever traveled the back roads of New England you certainly know that stone walls abound. In many places, they'll run for miles and miles along side the road you're traveling. In most cases, they do a pretty good job at giving you a rough idea of property lines too. Up in the woods behind the house, there's a wall on the right, that runs a pretty significant way, and it's quite wide too. They just don't happen haphazardly to fall there for any old reason. Someone deliberately made that wall. Maybe it was to mark the property line, or maybe it was just to rid some pesky boulders from land to be farmed. As I've mentioned before on this site, we've done our do diligence on researching this land and the people who walked on it long before us. Apparently, this rock was never meant to find a home in any old wall.

From Mending Wall
By Robert Frost
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast."

Monday, August 20, 2012


I won't say they're pretty, but there is a funky quality to them. Somehow, on the way to the compost pile these daisies got put in a holding pattern here on the porch table. And now to be perfectly honest, since yesterday I've been humming and singing bits and pieces to the Stones song, ya you've got it, "Dead Flowers". Which takes me to my cell and an app that I have on it. SHAZAM. Anyone have it on their phone? It's pretty cool. Just hold it up to any recording coming from the radio, CD player, computer or whatever device is playing music, and it will almost instantly come back with the song title any other pertinent information you might need about the singer or band. It will pick up the melody, lyrics and gets back to you pronto. Even if, if you are in the middle of a long guitar, or drum solo, it can do it. Quite fun and amazing, I think. It even does very obscure, 'deep tracks' off distant albums. But sad to say, it is limited. Yesterday, at a friendly gathering on the back deck, while enjoy a few daiquiris, the subject of SHAZAM came up. I mentioned a dark secret. I had tried singing the lyrics to a song into SHAZAM, and a note came back to me saying: 'cannot identify'. There were howls of laughter from my friends and family! Ok, singing is one thing, but is there an app for playing 'air guitar' to your favorite song? Now the laughter would die away! Right? 

Dead Flowers
"Well, when you're sitting there
In your silk upholsted chair
Talking to some rich folks that you know 
Well I hope you won't see me
In my ragged company
You know I could never be alone..."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Clay Chime

There's a new addition hanging from the old, garden apple tree. First of all, it's only new to the tree. It's been dangling inside, on the summer porch, for quite a few years now. As you can see, it's a combination home for my feathered friends and wind chime, made by the artistic hands of Elenka. But I was thinking; I do that a lot. In real windy times, when the chimes are more than a playin', how's a family to 'weather the storm' with all that racket? Maybe the idea of trying to blend a new home and some cheerful music might not be the best of ideas. As for a new flock's arrival, it'll have to wait for the  spring, and that's ways off at this point. However, September breezes will bring tuneful sounds to the garden, I hope. Of course, this addition will be in competition with at least two other noisemakers. Remember, my spoon chime resides up here too. There is also one that used to hangout in J's room, that now hangs nearby. So, I hope these contrivances might add some slightly symphonic or at least calliopic resonances up here. Hey, I think I might have just created a new word there. Have I engineered the word calliope into an adjective? Do I ever cease to amaze? You be the judge.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 1954

My grandparents always had plenty of magazines laying around. I always made a beeline for the mail slot in the front door when they were delivered. Sure, LIFE and LOOK were always favorites, especially for their photographs, but it was always Down East that intrigued me, long after the others had made it to  the magazine rack next to the fireplace. What really piqued my interest was the section called North by East. It usually appeared near the front and contained essays, opinions culled from area editorial pages, a cartoon and a photo or a woodcut or two. Don't ask me why I went to this section first, because the reason still escapes me. There was some interesting stuff in that first August 1954 issue, that by the way only cost 25¢. In the Down East Homes section a beautiful colonial home in Camden was on the market for just $10,500. Imagine what that home would cost today. There was a photo of E.B. White in academic robes receiving an honorary degree from Harvard, and a short piece about a movie maker looking for 'a young beaver' to film. What? The magazine, that back then wanted to be a source of 'reflecting the beauty, the spirit, the unique and special qualities that make this corner of the world like no other place under the sun", is still very much alive and doing just that. It's still one of those monthly, glossy periodicals that I must get my hands on. In lots of ways, it's me.
* magazines pictured: Maine Home, Rolling Stone, Men's Health, Maine and Down East.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Hose

Water, water everywhere... Well, to transport fresh, clean cold water to the far reaches of a flower and or vegetable garden, you better have made an investment in the spring of a good garden hose. We have various flower blooming areas scattered around the yard and our vegetables are a ways up a slopping rise. When to water? Old Mr. Gardiner, who kept an immaculate yard and a small tidy, black-shuttered house in the neighborhood, used to water his lawn thoroughly in the evening by hand. As a young lad of 12, I asked him why at night. His theory was that the grass would stay wet all night and have a good opportunity to soak into the soil. Made sense to me. On the other side of the coin, when it comes to flowers, I live with a pretty savvy gardener. She has related to me that watering at night can allow fungus to buildup on the plant or grass. Water in the daytime, so water soaks the soil but has time to dry from the leaves. Make sense to me. You see, when I'm found in the 'land of the lost', I'll believe just about anything. Back then, I thought the old guy made sense; these days I know this dame makes sense! On this latter fact, I've learned the hard way in a few cases over the years... and not just about watering gardens, I might add here. Now, I do know (I've been taught) that watering plants in hot, bright sun is a no, no. The droplets will act as a magnifying glass and actually burn the foliage. Makes sense to me. So there you have it, short and concise- Birdman's overly simple guide to watering your plants. Oh, and make sure you have enough rubber tubing to reach the far confines of your plants, especially if they reside for the summer up a slight hill. I need a couple of lengths that run about 200 feet or so. If you've got plenty of hose, you're living on easy street, right? Not quite, a sprinkler that won't cooperating going back and forth and a nozzle that won't attach correctly are areas I've been struggling with lately, but these issues I'll leave for another day. Makes sense to me.
ps. Afternoon showers are a beautiful thing!
Happy sprinkling!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aarrgh Matey

Get ready to hoist your jolly roger and to exclaim, "I, be a pirate!" International 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' is fast approaching on September 19. My photo today is the pirate that greets you on Commercial Street in front of Shipwreck and Cargo. Looking for a 'Lobstah' license plate, stupid knickknacks for your mantels at home, Portland themed t-shirts, books on the Maine coast, and all sorts of nautical decor? Then this place is worth a stop. The shop has been a draw on the city's waterfront for most of the 34 years it has been in operation. If you're shopping on Commercial or just taking a stroll, this guy is hard to miss. For the little kids, he's not too scary either. As a matter of fact, most Disney pirates would put him to shame. I've never taken part in this special day, but I'm thinking about it. Aarrrgh Matey!

Hunter S. Thompson was sort of a pirate. I like this quote that pretty much summarized this guy's outlook on life. 
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly exclaiming: "Wow! What a ride!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Box 56

Here's a glimpse at something else in our world that is quickly racing towards extinction: the street firebox. I grew up being quite respectful of these red boxes that used to be scattered liberally around our city streets. I saw fires take houses. I remember the one on Warren Avenue that started with the owner working his acetylene torch in the garage. I felt so sorry seeing the firemen fight the blaze, with the mom holding two small children in the street. I remember the fire call the evening of July 12, 1960, when Ladder 3 and Engine 4 crashed at Woodford's Square and took the life of a firefighter. Pulling a false alarm? Dad told me this. No, he commanded me! Don't you EVER think about it! Don't put your stinking hands on one! Don't you even try looking at one!  Just walk on by, fast! He knew my friends and me too well. As a matter of fact, Dad just about scared the bjesus out of me, when it came to these things. I used to break out in a cold sweat every time the gang and I walked by one. I might have even got the shudders. I'm still a little nervous when I walk by an alarm inside, on a wall of a public building. Another life lesson taught by a loving father in the rip-roaring, rockin' 50's. Thanks Dadl!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dog Fog

Fog, a cloudlike mass of minute water droplets forming near the earth's surface.

Usually, the view is the water of Casco Bay straight ahead, but not these last few mornings. We've been fogged in, bigtime! Of course, if this was California, they'd call this the early morning marine layer. Here in New England, we just call it fog. We don't give it some fancy name, so the talking heads in the weather department will feel comfortable in front of their green screens talking weather. If the weather guys and gals on the 'left coast' ever got transferred Downeast, they'd need some intense counseling sessions to get them 'off the ledge', so to speak. Of course, when my friends out West see the word FOG, they probably head right to the acronym 'free online games' anyway. But I digress. I'll end by just saying that fog feels great, looks great, smells great and is not just weather for dogs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wine Corks

Why do restaurants to this? It seems to be the latest kick around here. Ya, I know out in California they stopped doing this 5 years ago or so. Up here in the corner, Northeast, we seem to be the last place to sample new trends, like filling restaurant windows with used wine corks. I think that this 'last to get it' lifestyle is one of the big draws to living here though. It has a good, easy, well defined pace to it, I think. It's not the big city rush of say Boston, but at the same time it ain't no whistle-stop, one horse town either. Of course, I'm exaggerating a bit here, but as Goldilocks might have said, had she visited Portland with her buddies the three bears in that classic tale: 'that city's way too big; another city's way too small; but this city, this Portland, is just right!' So, I'll take it, stupid wine corks in the window and all. I'll drink to that! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Silver Doors

Here are a couple of silver doors and a bit more. This is the entrance to Rosemont Market and Bakery on the Hill. I stopped by a couple of weeks ago to grab a juice, coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Breakfast was tasty, and I enjoyed it in a comfortable, overstuffed chair in the section to the right. I relished the 20 minutes or so sort of in another world, in a section of the city that I seldom sit and take in the news. It was interesting listening to the anonymous chatter among friends that seem to meet here on a regular basis. I like these small little oases, filled with pleasant aromas and friendly talk. If I lived in the city proper and could walk everywhere, I have often thought it would be fun to visit a different spot each morning for breakfast and all the newsy words. I'd put on too much baggage though. Then again, who am I kidding? I really don't even like eating in the morning. Some mornings, I'll ask Elenka if she'd like to go for breakfast. We'll head out, find a spot. She'll order her bagel or some other choice, and I'll just settle of a cup of coffee. Drives her crazy! She's not happy! I guess she really does believe it's the most important meal of the day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me ' hearties, yo ho."
A Pirate's Life for Me

If you've ever been to Disney World or Disneyland, you've probably taken the daring trip among the caverns of the ride "Pirates of the Caribbean". So even though this is some of the main rigging to the US Coast Guard's tall ship The Eagle docked at the the Maine State Pier last week, when I look skyward up the masts, I can't help but think pirates and this crazy melody comes to mind. Now,  I do believe, that the precursor to the motley crew that you experience on that pirate ride goes back to the early tale of Peter Pan, also made into a Disney movie, featuring Captain Hook and his gang of misfits. Both productions, the ride and the adaptation of the Barre novel were and still are big favorites of mine. So the next time I get to Disney, I'll head right to the "Pirates of the Caribbean", with maybe just a slight detour to experience "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride". Mom said, way back, I was her 'peter pan' ("You'll never grow up!"). She wasn't kidding.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Foggy Gull

The fog enveloped the city last evening, like a stretch of wet cotton, and our hair survived! After a busy day that included renting a splitter and taking care of a cord or so of wood, stopping by to see Jay our financial planner, heading over to Sonny's Restaurant on Exchange Street for appetizers of mussels and scallops, we ended up at Eastern Prom for a concert by Jimmy and the Soulcats at the Fort Allen Park bandstand. The night was filled with lots of fine blues' riffs in a pea soup fog. Even with the heavy 'wetness' all about, a hundred or so enjoyed their picnic dinners and the music on the hillside This lone gull was taking it all in atop the bandstand. No complaints here!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Round and Round

"Round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows." I've used this line a lot in conversation, especially when the game of chance is involved. Long before Star Search, American Idol and The Voice, there was The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. Although it had roots on radio in the mid-40's with its spinning wheel, when televisions began to light livingrooms around 1950, it became a huge hit with Ted Mack at the wheel. Our family all gathered around the big floor-model Philco on Sunday nights and watched various contestant take their chances at winning the big prize of the night. Pat Boone, Ann Margaret, Gladys Knight, Frank Sinatra and even Louis Farrakhan made stops on it. It was one of the precursors to what was to become the Golden Age of Television. And it wasn't all New York and Hollywood either. Around these parts in the 50s there was a talent  show called Youth Cavalcade, which showcased high school talent on Monday nights. It was only 15 minutes long when it started, and as I remember was hosted by Clif Reynolds and a home economics teacher at Portland High School. Fifteen minutes! That was probably one of the reasons why I never made the cut. I'd wager there might have been other reasons too though. Haha!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mill Cats

Life's little pleasures can be found in lots of places, even up the road. First of all let me remind everyone again. I've got this thing for cats. I love 'em. From the wild barn cats that won't let you come anywhere near them, to the scruffy, skinny, black ones running free along the wharfs and back alleyways looking for a snuggle, I wish I could spend time with them all. When I come across them, do know I try. The other day, I headed up the road to our local saw mill. We all have one in our neighborhood. Right? Well, I needed to pick up a stack of 'stick ends' to use as kindling this winter. You have heard of winter in Maine. Right? Heading over there is always a treat for me because the yard is loaded with felines. Not really loaded but there are a lot. The feller running the saws that day and I did some small talk about the weather, work at the mill and such. While he was picking up a bundle of sticks with his tractor, I headed over to the office and came across this scene. I doubt this is an image that 'only a mother could love'. I'll tell you right off, that beauty on the left really got to me. As a matter of fact, I'm still thinking about those eyes right now. At home here, we have two wonderful cats already. Do I hear three?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Razzle Dazzle

Here's another shot from the recent Alive at Five concert series. Three members of MarchFourth Marching Band are seen here parading around Monument Square. The band/troupe was performing at the Port City Music Hall that evening, so they dropped by to give the audience in the Square a little sneak peak. Put together lots of horns, lots of percussion, electric guitar, bass guitar, stiltwalkers, dancers all in mismatched marching band uniforms and throw in a whole lot of performance theater and you get a pretty good idea what their show is all about. Hailing from Portland Oregon, they've opened for the likes of No Doubt, the Neville Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Blink 182 and KISS  just to name a few. Where does the name derive itself? It comes from the the night of their first performance March 4, 2003 Fat Tuesday! If you're looking for high visual energy, a wide range of musical genre and and a happy go lucky party atmosphere, you've found your band! Party on!

Monday, August 6, 2012

With Dad

At the Alive at Five summer concert series at Monument Square I looked to my left and saw this cutie checking out my camera. She wasn't too intent on keeping up with the lively conversation her dad was having. It got me thinking about special times with Dad. There were lots of secretive moments, away from the rest of the world. I'm sure we all have many from our childhood. Two come to mind today, both involving cars. The first was when we were living on Washington Avenue, at the foot of Canco Road. Heading home on darkened Canco, he'd let me slide over on his lap and help steer the old Chevy. It was a treat to flick on the high beam. The red light looked like a kidney bean, so I'd call it the 'high bean'. The other was getting to fly down Stevens Avenue on an errand, probably to the Quality Shop, in his maroon Jag. We would open all the windows and just let the wind rattle our brains. The Jaguar was so heavy and fast. I'd imagine, like an ocean liner at sea, going full knots, it would take us a long time to slow to a stop. Hey, what did a kid know. It was just time with Dad and that was golden, shinning like this child's hair in the afternoon sun.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


If you are a card-carrying member of PETA please move along. There's nothing more to see here. Here's a brief history. Two nights ago, these four were sleeping soundly in beautiful Casco Bay. Last night? Well, I'll spare you the gory details and just leave it at this. They were delicious! We don't partake in them often, even though we live in one of the self-annointed lobster capitals of the world. Maybe a couple of times a summer. The price of these crustaceans can be pretty contentious at times too. This summer the prices seem good for the consumer, low for the lobstermen. Some years it's the other way around, although I bet it would be pretty difficult to find a lobsterman that would agree with me there. My final words on the lobster situation this summer?
"Pass the butter, please!"

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tragedie Among Oaks

MacBeth was safe and, "shall never be vanquish'd be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill/ Shall come against him."

Last evening Elenka and I spent the evening with three wicked witches! We went to Deering Oaks and took in the Fenix Theatre Company's production of MacBeth. We packed our folding chairs, a dinner of cucumber sandwiches, veggies with ranch dip, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and nestled under the stars near the park's stone bridge. MacBeth is my favorite tragedy of the bard's, with roots for me going way back to Fr. Curley's English class, and this interpretation was certainly entertaining and enjoyable. The weather added to the delightful night. It was a perfect evening. Even driving home later, the temperature still read 87 but so comfortable. So, all in all, "something wicked this way comes", under the oaks was just the recipe for a 'mid-summer night'. Bravo!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Working Brothers

Here are a couple of hard working brothers of the Portland waterfront, the Rowan M. McAllister and his tug brother Roderick McAllister docked at the Maine State Pier. I've always wanted to get at these, but have been denied by homeland security. Since 9/11 access to this pier is difficult to achieve. The only real way to get in here is if you are traveling via a cruise ship in September or October on your way to Bar Harbor and the Maritimes, or when there is a special ship docked and tours are being given. Up until they opened the Ocean Gateway, this is where all the very large cruise ships docked, near the tugboats. This past weekend the US Coast Guard's Tall Ship, The Eagle, paid a visit to our city. Bingo! I had my chance. When I took Bob C. on a brief tour of the city Sunday morning, I got a glimpse of the pier and the tugboats awaiting my camera. That afternoon, in a steady shower, Elenka and I headed to the pier and a tour aboard the magnificent Eagle. Standing under her umbrella, she probably was wondering why I was spending so much time around these two water workhorses. For me it was 'mission accomplished'. Finally!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tug Fender

What am I? Well, if you guessed the front fender ( I call them the bumpers) on the Rowan M. McAllister tug based in Portland Maine then congratulations! You win a kewpie doll! By the way, if you had won one or have a vintage one in your possession, you'd be sitting pretty. They're worth quite a bit of money. I never won one at the World of Mirth that used to come each year to Riverside Street and set up camp alongside the golf course, but I grew up with lots of dolls. Don't get the wrong idea. I was very shy remember. I have two sisters and long ago, in another world I lived in a house loaded with dolls. They were everywhere. They were old and discarded; they were brand spanking new. They were 'chatty cathies'; they were 'baby eats a lots'. They cried; they talked; they ate; they walked; they peed. They did it all! Well, almost. Now, upstairs in the cluttered attic I have boxes of T-Rexes, Batman costumes and toys and Star War space vehicles. What do I do with these? Maybe I should just take them to the pier and let the McAllister just push them off to never-never land. As Creech would say, "How the heck did you ever get from working tugboats to Chatty Cathy? How does your mind work?" Hahahaha! Somethings in life can never, ever can be explained.
"Tugboat fender? Hey, you just won a kewpie doll!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Theme Day: Numbers

Today, August 1, 2012, is Theme Day across the CDP(citydailyphoto) community. My choice today is the 45 rpm record. The 7 inch disk was introduced in 1949 by RCA and took this country by storm. Thanks to Elvis and the Beatles they were everywhere. My claim to fame? I never bought or owned one, but thanks to many of the girls I hung with, I listened often. But I digress. Enlarge this photo and you'll get a treat. Yes! It's that popular song that we all danced to "Horenka, Horenka Hora"! Not really, but there is a story. Elenka's mom and dad are Slovak, and when she was recently visiting them in Florida, her mom asked her about this particular song that Elenka had taught her, after a trip to Czechoslovakia when she was but a lass of 16. Her mom told her that sometimes, when she can't sleep at night, she sings this tune, but she didn't know all the words. Elenka found it online and wrote down all the verses for her. They sang it together. Now, here's where this story gets interesting. When Elenka returned last week, we were talking and I mentioned that this month's photo theme was 'numbers'.
"What would be a different photo?" I asked.
She said, "how about a 45 record?"
"Do we have one in the house?" I said.
"Yes", she answered, "in the cabinet, I think."
She walked over to it, opened it and there it was. This record! She had no idea she even had it! Might this be an episode of the Twilight Zone?
Serendipitous or what?