Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Strange Police Calls

In my ever present search for community newspapers that print police call logs, I've finally run across a worthy competitor to the Gorham Times. The Rochester, NH police log at Fosters Online is a selection of items from the hundreds of calls the police receive. Here are my favorite strange calls from the month of May.

4:08 p.m. A vehicle, with its Massachusetts plate number noted, drives over a newly seeded lawn at 210 Gonic Road.

6:41 p.m. Another grass hater runs over a lawn in Fieldstone Village.

11:01 a.m. A man said to be wearing "a lot of clothes" sits in the breakdown lane near the Hi-Vu Motor Inn.

2:56 p.m. A gentleman described as "an older, yucky" male sits near the Exit 13 ramp.

2:08 p.m. A gentleman reports that his mother has clunked him on the head with a frozen ice bottle.

1:22 a.m. Ten teens at Cumberland Farms on Highland Street steal a package of Slim Jims and threaten the clerk, who presses the panic hold-up button. Police respond with commendable swiftness, but the thieves have taken off.

8:09 p.m. On Unity Street, juveniles beat up a Porta-Potty.

9:34 p.m. On Brock Street, a woman carrying a child is waving hi "in a very dramatic manor."

4:52 p.m. Four-wheelers are a plague on Harry Street in Gonic.

8:29 p.m. A tall man with his arm in a sling steals an 18-pack of beer from the South Main Mobil.

12:59 p.m. A man and woman, both over six feet in height, argue on Gonic's Main Street and then vanish into woods. Police find no trace of the pair, but don't dismiss it as a tall tale.

6:40 p.m. A group of girls place purses in the middle of Oak Street and are amused by cars trying to avoid the obstructions.

7:36 p.m. At Stop-N-Go on Gonic Road a lady wanders in a daze after her boyfriend "freaks out" and dashes into the woods.

And my favorite series of calls.....

11:59 p.m. A gentleman calls to say he cannot find his Billy Ray Cyrus CD and names his own mother as a suspect.

12:10 a.m. The Billy Ray Cyrus CD has still not appeared, despite another search, and the caller wishes to file a complaint against his mother. He is told that due to flooded cellars, washed out roads and massive evacuations, among other stuff, it could be a while.

12:12 a.m. The Billy Ray Cyrus CD is found!

Yerd Sale

3 or 4 years ago, on one of our regular weekend flea marketing trips south of Portland, we were coming back on Route 1 after hitting the Cascades outdoor flea market outside of Saco/Old Orchard Beach.

The utility pole at the corner next to the Dairy Bar in Scarborough is frequent host to homemade yard sale signs all summer long. This weekend was no exception. On the pole was a large cardboard sign written on with black marker. In large letters, it proclaimed, "YERD SALE"! To this day we wish that we had been brazen enough to take it, or that we had a camera with us in the car, because few people believe us that such a strange thing really existed.

We will never forget you, Yerd Sale.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Now In Process of Erection

Here is a nifty old penny-postage post card that I found when scrounging around in a drawer full of old postcards at a local marine surplus store. Interesting to see it when new, before it became neighbors to the newer court buildings and the courthouse parking garage!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Traveling Lord of the Flies

In my pursuit of community newspapers and their police logs, I stumbled upon the Windham Independent. While their police call column could not compare in pure strangeness to "The Blotter" in the Gorham Times, Windham's community newspaper did carry a column called News of the Weird. While this isn't about a local incident, it's bizarro factor compells me to share it. It's really inexplicable.

"Long Island, N.Y., bus driver Michael Cianci, 38, was chareged in April with child-endangerment for allegedly setting up a hierarchical social structure to enforce discipline among the Tottenville sixth-graders who rode what he called his "Death Cheese Bus." Cianci, who was the "Emperor" had a 12-tiered ranking system, from "Lord" to the low-end "Speds" ("special education"). Police said Cianci permitted his high-ranking enforcers to rough up misbehaving kids."

Wow. Not much you can say about that, except I really wish I knew how and why he came up with the name Death Cheese Bus.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

EVENT: Zombie Kickball!!! SUNDAY!!!

I meant to post this earlier in the week after seeing the flyer up at The SPACE Gallery during the Halfway to Halloween Horrorball, but got distracted.

Here is the text from a local art event listserv:

Zombie Kickball at the Eastern Prom 1pm..........dress up for this one!
Sunday May 28th

OK, imagine it . . . Memorial Day Weekend on the Eastern Prom, sailboats criss-crossing Casco Bay . . . young lovers, lazing on the grass . . . the smell of backyard BBQ's . . . the sound of children frolicking on the playground . . . and several dozen shambling, undead converging on the Prom for a knockdown, drag-out game of Zombie Kickball!  

What better way to celebrate the de facto beginning of summer?  Sunday, May 28th, 1:00pm sharp on the Eastern Prom kickball field! If you don't feel like playing k-ball, you can still help fill the Zombie Bleachers.

Please do send this to anyone you know who might be interested in eating brains... erm, I mean, playing kickball or cheering while dressed up as a zombie.

I think it goes without saying, but just in case someone has already eaten your brain -- the more zombies, the better this will be!!!

How to Find Bigfoot

Loren Coleman has posted an excellent article over on Cryptomundo that is full of helpful hints on setting yourself up to go out in the field in search of cryptids. Included are some pragmatic tips such as my two favorites:
Make certain you have brought blank tapes along, so you aren’t scrambling to decide whether it is your self-made Kenny Chesney or AC/DC tape in your truck’s cassette player that you are going to have to record over.

Have a few sterile collecting bottles or containers for fecal material samples and for urine specimens (for example from snow). It is recommended that urine samples not be collected from a live Bigfoot.
If you are thinking about venturing into the Maine woods in search of the Maine Ridge Monster or any other oddity, it can't hurt to be prepared!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

EVENTS: Portland History Tours & Vids

Local historical enthusiast Dugan Murphy has taken the reins and decided to run with his ideas for making local history more accessible. The result? An upcoming series of great activities chock-a-block full of all sorts of interesting historical elements you probably don't know about, and which will change the way you look at our city!!!

NOTE: The video showings are at people's Free Space (144 Cumberland Ave) and the tours are as marked.


Sunday, June 4th -- Congress Street Historic Walking Tour:
Meet in front of Portland City Hall at 3:00pm! Broaden your context and listen to tales of Portland's past and architectural heritage from local historian Dugan Murphy. The tour will end at Longfellow Square. Rain date: June 18.

Sunday, June 11th -- Holes in the Urban Fabric: A Cycling Tour of Portland's Worst Mistakes
Meet in front of Goodwill at Union Station Plaza on Saint John Street at 3:00pm. Bringng your bike! Tour the 20th-Century blunders and atrocities in Urban Renewal on Portland's peninsula with local historian Dugan Murphy. Rain date: June 25.

Wednesday, May 31 -- Video Showing: Experience Portland Past
7:00pm. This 60-minute video provides a colorful synopsis of the last four hundred years of Portland history. Stick around afterwards for discussion and Q&A with local historian Dugan Murphy.

Wednesday, June 14th -- Video Showing: Anchor of the Soul
7:00pm. This hour-long documentary tells the inspiring story of two institutions: the Abyssinian Church (built in 1828 and still standing) and the present-day Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church which have anchored the African-American community in Portland for over 150 years. Stick around afterwards for discussion and Q&A with local historian Dugan Murphy.

Wednesday, June 28th -- Video Showing: The Night Portland Burned
7:00pm. Come hear the harrowing tale of the Great Fire of 1866 in the form of this 30 minute video. Stick around afterwards for discussion and Q&A with local historian Dugan Murphy.
[Editor's Note: This is a film that they showed on television when I was a kid -- it gave me nightmares about Portland burning again! Good stuff, and a huge piece of Portland's history.]

Photo shows Congress Street as seen from the Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill, photographed by J.P. Soule just over a week after the July 4th fire. Little was left, and residents were forced to make do with tents as dwellings. Good thing it wasn't in winter!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Squirrelly Behavior

My niece looked out the window this evening and found this fellow clutching the screen. He stayed for about 10 minutes until a swift rap on the window sent him scurrying down.

They've previously infiltrated the eaves of our house, but this is the first time a squirrel has tried coming through the front door.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sister Betty and Crazy Helga

Sister Betty lives across the street in Portland from a woman she's dubbed "Crazy Helga." Betty even has a camera set up to deliver live streaming video of Helga's "little green shanty."
That she walks to church every morning cradling a plastic baby in her arms is no proof of mental defect. That she stands in downpours wearing stiletto heels, a thin skirt and sweater, wiping the water from her face in flailing, angry motions, is also insufficient proof. And perhaps, one might even disregard that she has, against her will, spent time in mental health facilities.

I call her Crazy Helga.

Crazy Helga's husband, Nearly Dead Olaf, spent his days sitting in a nonfunctioning Volkswagen, drinking beer and reading bad romance novels. Someone took the Volkswagen away, so now he just sits in a plastic chair and mutters at Helga. Nearly Dead Olaf is constructed entirely from small twigs and worn leather. He is a walking corpse.

Crazy Helga knocks on my door and announces: "I do not like gay people in my neighborhood!"

I retort: "I'm not so fond of crazy people in my neighborhood. Can I bring you a casserole?" [Link]

NEWS: Cougar Sighting in Waldoboro

Loren Coleman reports this week that there is a new Maine cougar sighting. The Lincoln County News reported the sighting:
“It has all the makings of a credible sighting,” Maine Inland and Fisheries biologist Keel Kemper said of Campbell’s five minute observation of the cougar.
Coleman also mentions that the area "has a history of sightings of black panthers." Good news for fans of the big cats in Maine!

Vinalhaven Ghosts with Horses

Over on the Unexplained Mysteries discussion forum, Marty Floyd posted on May 5th about an interesting experience he had about 7 years ago on Vinalhaven Island.
When I was about 15 (I'm 22 now), my family and I were looking at houses on Vinalhaven, ME. My Dad has a tendency to 'go exploring' as he likes to call it and drive down random roads wherever we are. As usual, he turned down one road on the island and as we were driving, we came across this young man walking a horse (he was walking on the ground and just leading the horse). He was wearing odd clothes, but no one really payed him any attention at the time. The topography of the road was strange in the fact that the embankments were about 10-15 feet tall on both sides the whole way down the road. And it was about 6 miles long. We encountered the man about halfway down the road.

So we kept driving down the road and eventually had to turn around (whole process took about 4-6 minutes, 8-12 minutes to get back to the same spot).

We were expecting to see the man again on the second passby.

He wasn't there.

So, being the skeptic that I am, I figured he had just hopped on the horse and rode him the rest of the way. But then I was thinking, horses at a normal walk or even a trot aren't going to make it 3 or 4 miles in 8-12 minutes (the time it took to get back to the same spot). And since the embankments were so high, he couldn't have gone off to the side. Or, my memory of the precise time was inaccurate.

So, my Dad being a complete disbeliever asked the real estate agent when we met up with him about 2 hours later how many horses were on the island. The REA said unequivocally that there were no horses on the island.

We ended up buying a house on the Island, and I have since spent a great deal of time there. One summer I searched for the road (when I was 20) and couldn't find it again. Vinalhaven isn't that big of an island and has a finite number of roads. I went over every single one.

Haven't found the road to this day.

SO, let me know what you all think. I'm more than happy to have this debunked and/or any good suggestions to what may have happened.
Vinalhaven will forever be wonderfully spooky for me because of its association with John Bellairs' "Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull," one of the best of his books, in my opinion. In the book, an early clue left by Professor Childermass leads Johnny Dixon to the Maine islands, Vinalhaven in particular, for some very chilling adventures. Good stuff. CREEPY and WONDERFUL!!! (If you go out looking for a copy, make sure you get the one with the Edward Gorey art.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Our Horses Walked the Plank

In the WPA's Maine: A Guide Downeast (1970 revised edition), under page 242's entry for Old Orchard Beach, mention is made of the Scarborough Marshes, namely:
Large crops of salt marsh hay formerly were gathered on hundreds of acres of marshland. To keep the hayrack horses from sinking into the marsh, 7" by 10" oak slabs were fastened to their hooves.
The horses would only come out after the ground had begun to freeze, oak slabs or not! To prevent the tides from washing away the pre-harvested salt hay, the cut hay was piled onto "staddle sticks," the remnants of which can still be seen in the marsh today -- small groupings of stakes that peek out of the marsh at intervals. You've probably seen them when driving by on Route 1 but never know what they were (like me)!

Apparently, the salt hay was very desirable to farmers as feed, and as an additive to the piles of regular hay kept in their barns. The salt content in the hay made it fire resistant, and adding it to the regular hay in their lofts lowered the risk of a quickly-spreading barn fire, one of the more devastating hazards for farm owners and their animals. (Source)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Super-Sized Spuds

As a follow-up to the Gigantic Maine discussion, here's a promotional display for Maine potatoes from 1940. Folks in Aroostook County must have eaten well during the Depression.

From America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945 [Repro. No. LC-USF34-041744-D DLC].

Graveyard Discourse

As quoted in Over Their Dead Bodies: Yankee Epitaphs & History by Thomas C. Mann & Janet Greene (1962), a grave is found in Searsport, reportedly from the late 1800s. It reads:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

The book reports similar or identical verse is found on two other gravestones, one in Barre, Vermont, and one in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

More like three Pease in a pod, if you ask me.

Monday, May 15, 2006

NEWS: 5,000-lb. Bell on a Rampage

This weekend brought a sense of urgency to residents of lower State Street (bridge side) that few had felt before when it was discovered that the 5,000 pound bell in St. Dominic's lofty bell tower had come crashing down forty feet into the tower itself. State Street traffic was rerouted and residents of some adjoining housing complexes were evacuated while officials scrambled to determine whether the damage was fatal to the bell tower's structure and thereby a threat to the safety of neighbors to the church.

Happily, unlike some of the rumors I heard over the weekend, the news appears to be good. While half the lanes of State Street remain blocked off, and assessments continue, the initial prognosis is encouraging. According to Sunday's Portland Press Herald, John O'Dea, the Maine Irish Heritage Center's excutive director, said reassuringly, "It's been here a long time and it will be here for a long time to come. The damage is confined to a real small area." The Heritage Center uses the adjoining building at 42 Gray Street for a housing program in the old St. Dominic's girl's school, and is in the process of renovating and restoring the 113-year old church for use as a genealogical library.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Beware of The Neighbor Without a Brain

The May 11 issue of the Union Leader reports that a Nashua, NH woman was charged with arson for setting her apartment building on fire. Debra McIntosh, 47, set her comforter on fire and threw it into the hallway outside her second floor apartment. McIntosh reportedly told police she didn't like the smell of the comforter and wanted to get rid of it.

I can't even begin to fathom how anyone could think setting fire to an object and throwing it in a hallway is a good idea. Plus if it smells bad to begin with, it's going to smell a whole lot worse when it's burning.

read more about the smelly comforter arson fire

Friday, May 12, 2006

SEARCH for info: Ceiling Dweller!

The latest and greatest rumor I heard was this:

A friend recalled around 10 years ago hearing about a strange episode in Augusta's Capitol Building. As far as he could recollect, a man had been found living in the suspended ceiling of one of the offices there. Suspicion had occurred when items began disappearing from desks and the staff refrigerator.

If anyone knows more about this tale, even a better idea as to the general date of the occurrence, I'd love to hear it. I can't find anything about it online.

NEWS: Giant Gnome Stolen!

Not content to heist miniature donkeys, New England's robbers have moved up in size to a 300-pound garden gnome stolen from a lawn in Milford, Massachusetts on Monday. For great little news clip on the gnomenapping, including a segment where the newscaster stands on the Magic Rock and disappears into thin air himself, go to the WCVB-5 website.

You will also find an article describing in detail the owner's feelings about the gnome, and his plans for fortifying his position if the gnome is returned. Hint: They include electrification and cement!!!

Courtesy of Amos Quito at New England Anomaly, of course!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

NEWS: Grisly Discovery in Boston Harbor

Cranky Yankee over at New England Anomaly posted yesterday about a macabre discovery down in Boston. Workers at the Deer Island sewage treatment plant were checking recently installed screening machines at the facility when they discovered among the screened debris a tiny arm.

Severed at a point below the elbow joint, the forearm and hand are believed to have belonged to an infant, as their total length is about five inches.

Video footage of the facility and a local newscast from Boston's CBS-4 are available here.

It is surmised that the remains traveled from a location north of Boston, and local authorities in Suffolk County are asking that anyone who might know a recently pregnant women that now appears to have no baby to call them with the information.

Weird, man.

Another article can be found at WCVB-5's website, here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

NEWS: Wacked-Out Lawsuit

There is something weird going on in Maine Blogdom...check this out! Courtesy of Taylor Marsh. In capsule, a Maine blogger is the target of a multi-million dollar lawsuit by an advertising company working for the Maine Office of Tourism after criticising the firm and the MOT on his blog.

The ridiculousness of the lawsuit (what ever happened to Free Speech?!) is compounded by the fact that it is drawing attention away from what should be the real controversy!!!

A summary of events can be found here, including pertinent details such as: "The Maine Office of Tourism pays 3.9$ million a year to Warren Kremer Paino Advertising in New York to handle its advertising campaign. Part of this budget goes to purchasing internet traffic through Google AdWords and Overture to drive traffic to the MOT’s website, The actual amount that is spent is unclear, but an interview with someone in the MOT in 2004 stated that it was $7,000 a month at that point."

Wouldn't you think Maine would know how to spend their money better? I though we were supposed to be thrifty.

To quote the Boston Globe:
Dutson, an independent Web designer, launched his blog last fall to comment on technology and Maine tourism issues. He has written commentaries ridiculing the state's tourism efforts and, last month, he posted a "rough draft" advertisement pulled from Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development website showing a collage of iconic images of the Maine seacoast, woodlands, and ski slopes, with a dummy phone number that turned out to connect to a line promoting a phone sex service. The agency had inadvertently placed the phone number on the draft advertisement for a presentation made to state tourism officials.

"This is supposed to be our biggest industry," Dutson wrote on his blog yesterday, referring to tourism, "but it's being run like a trailer park daycare on its 3rd notice from the Human Services people."

Also included in the above summary link are detailed accounts of the wacky hijinks of Dutson's attackers, including events like this: "Nancy Marshall, the PR maven for the MOT, sent an email to my wife’s boss, entitled ‘Are you aware what Lance Dutson is doing?’, putting pressure on my wife through her employer to get me to be quiet. She emailed my wife, and called her there also. She pulled my client list from my website and made calls and emails to them, telling them I was causing ‘personal pain and sleepless nights’, and saying that my actions were hurting the local tourism economy, apparently as a veiled threat that her wonderful PR services would be withheld if the local merchants didn’t force me to be quiet." Gee, they sound professional, the whole lot of them.

Crimes of Education

Almost as much fun as the Forecaster's police blotter on some weeks, the USM Free Press reports on crimes occurring on their campuses. The April 10th issue had a motley assortment of these, including:

March 21 -- Someone burnt a wall poster in Upton Hastings Hall. (Incendiary censorship, or just the result of our recent dry climate conditions? Poof!)

March 22 -- Someone reported a subject throwing fireworks at the windows of Portland Hall from the rear parking lot. (And what subject would that be? Surely not gentle Sociology. More likely that rowdy subject, Statistics. Ha!)

March 23 -- Someone reported cash was taken from her purse while it was in the Continuing Education Center. Ther have been several similar incidents recently. (The high cost of education. Not content to leave us all in debt, now they are taking petty cash from our belongings.)

March 24 -- USM Police had a Portland Hall resident's car towed becuase of unpaid fines. The police have also charged the owner of the car with theft of a parking boot. (Wait... did they place the boot on the car, have it towed, and then charge the owner with theft of the boot? Much akin to the practice of banks charging overdraft fees on top of overdraft fees.)

March 24 -- On the same date, someone reported a group of intoxicated underage people harassing the residents of Dickey Wood Hall on the Gorham campus. (If you live in a hall called "Dickey Wood," you're bound to be harassed sooner or later, liquor or no liquor.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SMF - The End of the Street

Well, the time has come to make another entry into the annals of Strange Maine Fiction. Please welcome Red Burtt to the fold, with his tale about man's best friend, his dog. This is one of the strangest rants I've read in a long time, and if it doesn't make you start watching what goes on at the end of the street yourself, maybe you're on too much medication. A real corker of a story, creepy and insidious. The kind of thing that makes you wish you could just get back to sleep, dammit. The link wil send you to a PDF of the story. Enjoy!!

"I have asked my neighbor, when I do he just stares off into space, he has lived here for thirteen years I know he knows something but when I bring the subject up he starts talking about his Snow Blower, I don’t care about his damn Snow Blower something is going on at the end of this street and I want to know what the hell it is." --Red Burtt

Monday, May 08, 2006

Governor Bodwell?....Norman Bates?

Joseph Bodwell was a tycoon in Hallowells granite industry. He was so successful in his business pursuits, that he was elected Governor of Maine in 1887. Bodwell didn't have much interest in running for Governor and ran the office like a business. He never got to do much while elected as he died on December 15 of that same year.
Bodwell's home in Hallowell was built in 1875. In pictures that I've seen, the house looks a bit rundown, but is still a beautiful piece of architecture. It's all the extra little features that todays houses don't have that makes it such a treat to view.
I suspect it would look very creepy after dark, as if something sinister was going on behind the darkened windows which are so very good at hiding the dirty little secrets that occur within. In fact the more I think about it, Bodwell's house looks a little too much like this for me to be comfortable.

Odd Police Calls

After Michelle's May 2nd post about the Police Beat column in the Forecaster, it seemed like the perfect time to put in a plug for the Gorham Times and their police call log entitled "The Blotter." When viewing The Blotter you can always count on two things: 1) there are some very odd calls; and 2) cows are roaming the streets. Here are my favorite odd items from the first part of the year.

School St. caller wanted to know if it was okay to show dirty pictures from a cell phone. Her neighbor came over, entered the apartment without knocking, and showed her the pictures, which she believed were pictures of his anatomy.

Maple Drive caller wanted police to keep an eye out for her cell phone which she lost somwhere between Gorham and Bangor.

Vehicle ran over a shopping cart several times in a Main St. parking lot, and then the driver got out of the vehicle and threw the cart. There was no damage to the cart but the driver was issued a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot.

Brackett St. caller reported a suspicious man standing in the yard for the past twenty minutes. Officer confirmed it was a neighbor.

Clerk reported a male threw a burrito at him. Suspect had left the store. Burrito had been paid for.

Eight to ten cows were loose on Cummings Road and this time were eating the neighbors trees and shrubs and were up against the house doing damage.

Caller reported man dressed in all black standing on the sidewalk by a Main St. store. Man was waiting for a ride from his father.

Beech Circle caller reported he had brought a friend over to his house for a visit and they had been drinking. Friend was now urinating all over the house. Office responded to the scene to do an evaluation of level of intoxication.

Suspicious activity on Ossipee Trail was a family looking for a new car.

Files Road caller reported that a male had forced his way into the residence through the door. Caller then decided maybe she dreamed the incident because she thought she let him in but now realized she is still in bed.

Wood Road caller reported gate at farm was open and a herd of cows was loose, running towards Route 25. Officer advised he had called owner of the approximately 50 loose cows and owner was coming to help gather them up.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Gigantic TV Repairman

Here is the “Big Toolbox Bearing Guy” that Michelle mentioned in the comments section of the Gigantic Maine post a few days ago. The big guy is actually a sign for Hawkes Plaza, where Al Hawkes used to own and operate a tv repair service. Al not only installed the sign, he also made it!! Now that's impressive and it brings me untold amounts of joy. Like many other children, I was always completely enthralled when my parents drove past the moving repairman.

The 13 foot metal biped’s arm could be seen swinging back and forth from 1962 until 1989, when Hawkes was informed by the Maine Department of Transportation that moving signs are illegal in Maine. The fear is that the movement of the sign could cause a driver to divert his attention rather than watch the road. The MDOT does not explain why this fear does not apply to children, joggers, bicyclists, pets, and other cars, all of which are known to move much more than a hulking metal serviceman with only one moving appendage and a foot bolted to the ground.

The current sign owner, Bill Umbel, summed the law up very nicely when he said, “If something like this sign is going to distract you enough to cause an accident, then maybe you shouldn't have a driver's license in the first place."

Articles from 2005-
Beloved Sign Will Stay
Repairman Walks Again

The Heck with Mysteries!

Unlike those of us who reside here on Strange Maine, who are all about mysteries and would be weeping into our pockets without them, the associate dean of the College of Engineering at University of Maine Orono declares good riddance to pesky conundrums.

In the May 4th issue of the Bangor Daily News, reporter Aimee Dolloff wrote about recent events on the campus by which a search for a large historic bell were finally brought to a close, and has a word with Mr. Rock on the matter:
"It was one of those days you just kind of take a deep breath and go, 'Wow, finally,'" Rock, associated dean of the College of Engineering, said Wednesday after the bell had been taken down.
While the mystery has been intriguing, Rock said Wednesday he's glad it's over."I don't want any more mysteries," he said.
The funniest part of the whole deal, and perhaps one of the annoyances of it for Rock, is the fact that the bell was perched above everyone the whole time in a cupola on the roof of the Fogler Library. I wonder if it giggled to itself, or if it talked the pigeons that were using it as their homebase into starting a betting pool to see who could guess when the staff would finally home in on its location. Or perhaps it was on tenterhooks to be brought back out into the public eye again, and feted and loved.

At any rate, if Mr. Rock has any unwanted mysteries kicking around, he can just send them our way. :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Danvers Demolition

A massive issue looming on the New England historical horizon, now passing from it, is the bulk of Danvers Asylum, in Massachusetts. In a too-late effort to document its passing, I and Salli left the house at 4:00am and popped across a couple of state lines this weekend to see if we could sweet-talk our way in and take some photos before most of it came tumbling down. As you can see we were late, late, late. Avalon Danvers is imminent. The cranes crawl over the hilltop like giant carnivorous brick-eating insects. Buildings' innards are exposed to sunlight they never saw before in an agonizing admission of defeat. This is Danvers on the way out.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Gigantic Maine

This giant Bean Boot on Flickr reminded me of other giganticized Maine icons. Like the huge potatoes depicted on postcards aboard wagons, railroad cars, and trucks (the last may well be an Idaho spud). Or the monstrous lobster claw in Winter Harbor. It was perhaps caught in this oversized lobster trap in Lincolnville.

Let's not forget 35-foot-tall Paul Bunyan standing in Bangor. Though even Paul was put to shame by the 113-foot snowman in Bethel.

Though not a Maine icon, Eartha is definitely a tourist attraction as the "World's Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe."

Have I missed any?

EVENT: Free Stormtroopers!

No, wait, what I meant to say was Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday, May 6th! Visit your local comic book seller and scoop up some goodies. Yum! And as if free comics weren't enough, the local chapter of Star Wars Stormtroopers are scheduled to be at the Windham Casablanca Comics store from 11:00-2:00, so bring your cameras (light sabers?)!!! These guys are from the 501st New England Garrison. I swear they are actually friendly (despite the photographic evidence).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bangor's BAT Bus

Neal Harkness, writing From Belfast Common, asks "How cool are the Bangor busses?"

The correct answer is "Way cool."

All Manner of Fuss

The Forecaster has some interesting and often seemingly minor events mentioned each week in its Police Beat. In its April 13th issue I found a few that for one reason or another caught my eye (my commentary in red):

Where's the Dirt? 4/7/06 at 3:56am -- Someone requested to see an officer about a confrontation in a lot while he was sweeping. No complaint was filed.
Now... these people are very busy at 4:00 in the morning, no? Gives new meaning to the Maine work ethic. I wonder what the confrontation was about?

Argument. 4/8/06 at 3:25am -- A mother and daughter were arguing over usage of a computer.
Again, I am wondering what in the world these people are doing in the wee hours of the morning. Apparently, arguing over computer use. Iiiiinteresting.

Thirst for Knowledge. 4/8/06 at 10:14am -- A 16-year-old who was reported missing was seen walking to the library where he was located and taken home.
No, you will not be allowed to read books. NO! A thousand times no.

Other times, the titling of the articles is the funnest part of the deal.
Bad delivery. 4/9/06 at 9:05am -- A mailbox was smashed on East Main Street.

Then again, sometimes the language used to write up the incident provokes unwonted hilarity and/or confusion.
Suspicious. 4/2/06 at 12:48am -- Two men were at the rear of a residence on Durham Road. Police couldn't locate them.

The Forecaster has a wonderfully individual take on the police blotter action that always entertains while informing, and I've enjoyed it for years. The paper is available on a weekly basis in a handful of localized editions in most newstands. I get mine at the Back Bay Hannaford's in Portland, or at Granny's Burritos on Fore Street.

Monday, May 01, 2006

NEWS: Alligator Found in Maine!

Goodness. Just when I thought it might be nice to take a nippy spring dip -- then THIS little fellow comes along! Reported on WCSH-6 news as I was watching it this morning, I found out on opening my e-mail this morning that I am way behind in catching this oddity, as Village Soup posted the story way back on April 22nd, according to Loren Coleman's article here.

Having recently re-watched Lake Placid, which purportedly takes place in Maine, this all seems a little too funny. Hee hee!

Be sure to visit the young tailflapper at York's Wild Kingdom this summer to see how he's doing.