Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Eastland Hotel is reborn

The Eastland Hotel, Portland Maine - click
Photo: Portland Monthly
  For many years, I think, the Eastland was the most prominent building in Portland.  Located on High Street near Congress Street (the main street).  It had over 100 rooms and most of the time it was the best place to stay in the city.  Over the years it did run down some, rents became less expensive and tenants become more long term.  Mostly that was caused by new motels/hotels being built and the expense of keeping constant upgrades.
  In the past few day the old lady has a new name The Portland Westin, and a very expensive make over.  So the "east went west" as the saying is.
  When I first came back to Maine in 1978, I met a man who knew my father, Maurice Lord a retired Army man, who according to him, was the man who did my enlistment physical at Fort Williams when I joined the Navy.  We went to the Top of the East and had some drinks - probably too many.
A couple of years later when I was living on the street I used the restroom off the lobby to try to shave every couple of days.
The Top of the East overlooking Portland Harbor all new again - click to enlarge
Photo: Robert Witkowski Portland Press Herald
Seasonal Photo:
McArdle's Garden Center Greenwich, Connecticut - early 1950's - click

Friday, December 13, 2013

An act of love

Claire Koch
Clipped from video by Lisa Koch
  All of you may have seen the video, or glanced at it.  Anyway here it is again.  The video shows a childs love of her parents.  Born to a deaf couple Claire, a Kindergarten pupil, learned enough sign language to sign "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" during the singing for parents at the school.
Her mother attended and made a video of the presentation, she had no idea the little girl had learned to sign.  What a wonderful gift for her Mom.
  Here is a link to the video:

Seasonal Photo:
Santa-con attendees on Wharf Street - click to enlarge
Photo: Staff Portland Press Herald

Thursday, December 12, 2013

At last?

Horsehead Rock - click to enlarge
See notes after post for more information
Photo: Aislinn Sarnacki Bangor Daily News
  At last?  Maybe!  It seems that some members of Congress have made a decision to cooperate, that's amazing.  What's even more amazing is that those members, of both houses, have crafted a budget that will last longer than 90 days.  Wow, imagine that; people who are willing to do the job that we elected them to do.  I'm almost in awe!
  Now comes the nay sayers.  You know the ones, those who are guided by special interest groups, who don't listen to the people, they only listen to money.  We can't just go off willy nilly and pass some stupid budget they say.  And they want us to believe that would be un-American.  Silly them!
  I congratulate those who took the "risk" to do the will of the people.

Now, about Horsehead Rock, it is one of many natural features in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area in north central Maine.  These huge stone features are left by the glaciers that receded about ten thousand years ago.  The particular stone appears to have been broken off a larger stone and upended by the glacier.  The whole area is littered with these very large stone features.

Seasonal photo:
Carolers in Bath, Maine
Photo: John Ewing Portland Press Herald

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When they passed out brains........

Location of Canon City, Colorado - click to enlarge
Image: Google Maps
  In Canon City, Colorado (indicated on the map by "A"), Hunter Yelton, a six year old first grade student was suspended from school.  He was suspended on a charge of sexual harassment.  What caused this commotion?  He kissed another first grader, a girl, on the hand!  Will he be classified as a sex offender for life? Probably not.  Will this incident scar him for life? Yes.
  Where is the common sense?  Why is it that a little boy can't smooch a little girls hand?  She did not object - they like each other.
  Meanwhile in Pennsylvania a ten year old boy has been suspended for "pretending to shoot an imaginary bow and arrow". PRETENDING!
  Where is the common sense?

  I can't make this stuff up!

Seasonal Photo:
Mr. and Mrs. Santa arrive by Lobster Boat in Kennebunk, Maine - click to enlarge
Photo: Derek Davis, Portland Press Herald

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Afghan War. Is it over?

  Longer than the U S Civil War and World War Two combined, and throw in the Aroostook War and those did not last as long as the Afghanistan War.  Talks have been on-going with the United States and Afghanistan to provide "trainers" for the Afghan Army for another ten years.
  Afghanistan does not want the American troops, has not wanted the American troops but still we persist.  Osama Bin Laden is dead and he was the "reason" the United States went to Afghanistan in the first place.  Or so we have been told.
  Last night (December 9, 2013) the Congress of the United States got off its' collective ass and passed the Defense Authorization Bill, funding the Department of Defense for 2014.  Congress has yet to pass a budget for the "rest of us".  We have been duly warned by the late President and Five Star General Eisenhower that we need to be watchful of the Military Industrial Complex.  We have not yet learned this lesson.
  End the good war now.

Seasonal photo:

Mittens knitted by Anna Furrow for local children.
Photo: Abigale Curtis Bangor Daily News

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, USN

Commodore Hopper in 1984
Photo: U. S. Navy via
  Grace Hopper served in the U S Navy from 1943 until 1996, with two brief (less than a year) breaks.  She was born in 1906 (today, her birthday, she would have been 107), educated at Vassar in Mathematics and Physics, she worked in the labs at Harvard University.
  She joined the WAVES of the U S Naval Reserve in 1943 with an exemption for her weight, she weighed 15 pounds less than the 120 pound minimum, she served in the Bureau of Ships, where the Navy Computer Labs were in infancy.
  She wrote the first computer language that was close to English and is know today as COBOL.  She is the person who coined the term "debugging" after she removed a moth from a computer to solve a problem.
  She is one of the very few women with a Navy ship named for them, the USS Hopper DDG-70 was commissioned in 1996 and is know as "Amazing Grace"!
  If you look at the website Google you will find an animation of Admiral Hopper, one of my personal heroes, at work.

Seasonal photo:
Ryan McDermott at Gooches Beach, Kennebunk, Maine last week
Photo: Portland Press Herald

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Win or lose, it's the money stupid

  During the playoff and bowl season for college football money flies around like a flock of crows (more correctly called a murder of crows).  Big schools like Florida State, Washington, Ohio State those with a storied history in football may receive from the NCAA upwards of 15 million dollars.
  Maine won the Championship of the Colonial Conference during the regular season, but still there is or was a playoff - to participate in a bowl game.  Maine lost. Twice.  New Hampshire beat Maine yesterday and will continue on towards a bowl game.
  Maine being the champion hosted the game.  The NCAA chipped in how much?  Oh, no! Maine had to PAY the NCAA for the privilege to the tune of $30,000.00! 
  You get the picture "small schools pay" "big schools collect"  There is something wrong with this picture.  It's especially wrong because the NCAA is all about FAIRNESS.  Oh well, who really gives a rats ass?

Seasonal photo:
Parks workers trim the "Candelabra Tree" in Deering Oaks Park, Portland, Maine" - click to enlarge
Photo: Portland Press Herald