Saturday, September 29, 2007

Weekly Photo: Horse-Drawn Milk

Our last photo was of a bunch of happy kids hanging out on the East End Beach raft, back in 1938.

Here is another photo from Portland's bygone days, courtesy of Abraham Schechter, who runs the Portland Public Library's Portland Room. This time our photo is from downtown Portland, in a park just off Congress Street, taken in 1942. This location is clearly recognizable -- let's see if anyone can pick it up! Click on the photo for a larger version to inspect details. The horse is really gorgeous. You probably needed that kind of strength to haul a wagon up and down the city's sloping ways.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Laughing All the Way Down 95N

Thanks to Adam Belanger, we have another fun vanity plate for your amusement. Belanger remarked, "I saw the NEFRTT license plate and was reminded of a friend from NY that said everyone in Maine has custom plates. I saw this one yesterday on 95N and wanted to share."Thanks Adam!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Enormous Pumpkin Demands Motor

The Cumberland County Fair celebrates it's 136 year beginning this weekend. Along with the midway, food, animals, 4H, and rodeo, the competitions attract many a fair-goer.

Each year my interest is piqued by the battle for the largest pumpkin. The orange gourds are so enormous, they could swallow a child whole - if they were so inclined and carniverous.

But what to do with a gigantic pumpkin after the Fair, you ask? I'm not sure, but a few years ago some people in the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization came up with an ingenius idea for one such massive pumpkin. Use it as a motor boat.

Never thought I'd see a pumpkin zooming by on the river, but now I guess anything is possible.

If you want to see more photos of this unbelievable boat, head over to the
Pumpkin Boat Sea Trials page at the MePGO web site. And go see the Jabba the Hutt sized pumpkins at the Cumberland County Fair. Hurrah!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekly Photo: Summer Fun

Our last photo was of an ice truck on Federal Street (which no one guessed).

Here is another photo to give you a last taste of summer fun in bygone days, courtesy of Abraham Schechter, who runs the Portland Public Library's Portland Room. This time our photo is a waterfront photo, taken in 1938. I'm sure our modern, liability-lawsuit-happy society couldn't abide such fun nowadays, more's the pity. Click on the photo for a larger version to inspect details. See any familiar faces? You never know! Does anyone know where this photo view is from? Here's a hint that will give it all away -- it was taken from a Portland beach.

Joe Black update - Obituary and more

The Portland Press Herald posted a few kind words about Joe this week, and so they're online somewhere with the rest of this info, I'm going to put them in here for folks to read. His obituary is so short it's hardly more than two lines.
Joseph J. Black
BLACK, JOSEPH J. - 25, of Portland, Sept. 7, 2007. Memorial service, 6 p.m., Sept. 14, Norm's Bar & Grill, 617 Congress St., Portland. Benefit show, Geno's, 625 Congress St., Sept. 16.
However, in other forums more was said...

Tonight 25-year-old Joe Black will be remembered and celebrated at Norm's Bar and Grill, 617 Congress St., starting at 6 p.m. The memorial service will be followed on Sunday with a benefit concert at Geno's, 625 Congress St., with a number of local bands performing.

Black died Sept. 7 when he fell six stories down an elevator shaft in the building where he lives. Police do not believe there was foul play involved.

Black was a vibrant musician and well-known in the Portland local music community, most recently as a member of the band Claymore Minds.

His family is asking people who knew and loved him to bring along any photos or stories to tell about him to either of the events.[Source]


Tribute People all across Portland's arts and music community were stunned to find out Claymore Minds guitarist Joe Black died last week. Police say Black fell down an elevator shaft by accident. Black's accident caught a lot of people off guard, and tonight friends and family are coming together to celebrate his life and help out his family. Tonight at Geno's Claymore Minds, Covered in Bees and Cryptic Overcast are playing starting at 8 p.m. It's a $5 ticket and all proceeds will go to help out Black's family.

Thanks to Giselle Goodman and Justin Ellis, and thanks the rest of you, for not letting him go silently alone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Joe Black benefit show SUNDAY

For those of you who knew Joe, possibly one of the nicest guys around, here is a final send-off for him, and some help for his family.

In case you missed it, here is what has been going on. Strange Maine it is, but some of the saddest Strange Maine I've ever seen.

Joe's death is finally in the paper.

Click here to read the Press Herald article.

I'll post the text here in case the link eventually expires, so folks can read it. To see it in print is a strange feeling. Barely a hint.
Missing man found dead in elevator shaft
By David Hench, Portland Press Herald Staff Writer
September 10, 2007 12:52 PM

Portland police say a man who was reported missing Friday was found dead Saturday night at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the building where he lives.

Joseph Black, 25, was found at the bottom of an unused elevator shaft at 18 Casco St. Police do not suspect foul play, but instead believe Black fell the six stories – 74 feet – by accident.

Black had been on the roof of his apartment building Friday night shortly before he disappeared and there were indications he may have fallen then, Lt. Tony Ward said.

Friday night at 6:00 is the get-together at Norm's on Congress Street for a memorial gathering. So far as I know the family is not holding any kind of public funeral service, and it is their hope that everyone can gather and toast Joe at these two meeting points. They are also hoping that anyone with photos of Joe will bring them to share.

It makes sense to find out that Joe was the youngest in his family. It's strange to hear him referred to as a "missing man." He was a perennial boy more than anything. So damn excited about everything, even when he was trying his damnedest to be cynical and hard. He could never quite seem to manage it convincingly because of all his enthusiasm. Here's to Joe, and here's to those left missing him.

Friday, September 07, 2007

EVENT: Poultrygeist premiere TONIGHT!

Well, there's nothing more strange than a Troma film, and this one has a touch of home in it. Covered in Bees, local punk friendlies and rabblerousers, are featured on the soundtrack, so Lloyd Kaufman, indy-filmmaker supreme, has gone out of his way to throw a Maine premiere of the movie here in Portland!

Go to the 7:30pm showing of the film at Nickelodeon Theatre on Temple Street, and follow up with a bang-up rock and roll show at Geno's tonight. Save your ticket stub, and save $2 on the $10 cover charge. They'll be serving hot wings for snacks!

Be forewarned, this tale of chicken zombies is not for the faint of heart, as Troma delights in pushing the envelope of acceptibility (which we love them for, but which might be upsetting to the unprepared).

Who: Covered In Bees, Confusatron, and Bass Box

Friday Sep 07, 2007
at 7:30 PM, the Maine premiere of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead by Troma Video, hosted by director Lloyd Kaufman
at 9:00 PM, the Tromafest show with all those crazy musician guys and Lloyd Kaufman as guest of honor

at 7:00 PM, at Nickelodeon Theater, 1 Temple Street, Portland (view map)
at 9:00 PM, at Geno’s Rock Club, 625 Congress Street, Portland (view map)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Linus, the unusual Rapunzel horse!

This great image comes from Buckles Blog. His site is a host for the discussion of Circus History from all over the world -- well worth checking out! On August 30th, he posted this scan of a photo postcard he has of this remarkable show horse. At the left of the image is the imprint of the photographer who printed it, namely I. L. Hammond and Co., of 129 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, Maine.

(NOTE: That same location is known today as the Osgood Building, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Description states that it was built in 1892 by architects J. L. Coburn & Son. The white enamel brick front was brought from Leeds, England, and is unique in the State of Maine. I'm not sure what year the photo of Linus is from.)

On the photo is notation of the length of Linus' magnificent measurements -- his mane is 14 feet long, and his tail is 12 feet 3 inches. Whoa! What a beauty.

Dick Flint from Baltimore added an illuminating comment about the horse's history, and his relation to the state of Maine. "Linus was bred in Marion, Oregon, about 1884, then acquired around 1890/91 by C.H. and H.W. Eaton, brothers from Calais, Maine, who were the most successful promoters of the horse. Linus was 3/4's Clydesdale and his advertised weight was 1435 lbs."

They say the ferris wheel has a great view...

...but this is ridiculous! One of my coworkers mentioned seeing a story on WGME-13's news about a ride operator at York's Wild Animal Kingdom having sex on the ferris wheel with a woman while he was supposed to be running it. The rumor was that he did so at the same time as patrons were on the ride and no one else was running the ride. There are no such details in the only online account of the story I could find. But the story's still WILD!
Couple hot and heavy on zoo ride, police say
Arrest made after mom says kids witnessed the act
By Elizabeth Dinan
August 30, 2007 6:00 AM

YORK, Maine — A couple allegedly having sex on the Super Spiral ride at York's Wild Animal Kingdom "horrified" a mother with young children who witnessed the act at "Maine's largest zoo and amusement park," say police.

As a result, Adrian Levy, 26 — a native of Jamaica and amusement park employee — is charged with one count of indecent conduct, said York Police Sgt. Tom Baran.

Wild Kingdom general manager Amy Wheeler said Levy, a ride operator, was simply "dirty dancing with a girl" and was not charged by police on amusement park grounds. He was, however, fired immediately and sent home, she said.
"The complainant had young children who observed the incident," said the police sergeant. "It is a serious incident; it's very inappropriate and it's against the law."

[Read full article on Seacoast Online here: Source]
I found photos of another Super Spiral ride (this one's down in Virginia) that gives a good idea of what the machine looks like, if York's is the same kind.