Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Passing of Robin Williams

A few years ago, I was sitting down to a Chinese buffet in Calais and a complete stranger came up to me.  She was an older woman, late middle age, and she felt compelled to tell me how much I resembled Robin Williams.  It wasn’t the sort of compliment I generally get, though I guess there is a vague resemblance (more people say I look like John Belushi; again, I don’t quite see it, myself).  It is by a strange coincidence that years later I would find myself attending the same church with that perfect stranger who thought I looked like Mr. Williams.

Everyone is posting all over the place about the loss of this comedic genius and all around nice guy.  It is a sad thing indeed, and not so uncommon, for the most beloved and friendly of celebrities to be haunted inside.  I’ll always remember Robin Williams as the star in some of my favorite movies growing up.  I recall my parents laughing away to Good Morning, Vietnam, even when I was too young to really appreciate it.  I’ll remember classics like Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire as moments of joviality and escape during my tumultuous childhood.  I remain haunted by such underrated sci-fi classics as The Bicentennial Man and The Final Cut.  He was truly an actor with depth, as well as heart.

Farewell, Robin.  Perhaps you now know What Dreams May Come?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Eastport’s 4th of July Parade 2014: Calm Before the Storm

Well, this is well over a month late in posting, but the hurricane that hit Washington County on July 5th disrupted my schedule.  Better late than never, I guess.  So, without further delay, here is my annual recap of Eastport’s 4th of July parade.

The parade started like any other...

 Minnie Mouse has apparently joined the local fire department.

And here we see The Notorious S.P.O.N.G.E. and the insidious El-Moe.

It seems like every fire truck in the county is in this parade. Hate to have a house fire that day!

Biting your nails is a nasty habit there, Mickey.

Here comes another procession of Ambulances to squeal their sirens and terrorize sensitive ears.

 This goofball just ran up and hugged Tigger.  Only thing that could’ve been wackier is if I had done it... but that would just be wrong.

Sandwiched between fire trucks and ambulances is Big Bird.  Wyatt ran over and gave the bird a hug right after Kathryn.  Dang, that would be one big Thanksgiving feast there, wouldn’t it?  But I digress...

Here comes the honor guard, and there was a ship in port this year, so it’s a Navy parade.

Go sink the enemy, boys!

This year, we had 2 Mounties in the parade, hiding behind the US Coast Guard.

And now to the Republican contingent.  Here’s Chris Gardner’s spectacular 1952 Chevy Deluxe, plastered with campaign signs as usual.

State Rep. Beth Turner waves to the crowd, as State Rep. Joyce Maker looks for friendly faces.

Will Tuell for Legislature!

Burns... Excellent!

And here’s Barry Curtis.  He’s running for Sheriff.  Go Barry!

At last, the first batch of Pipers comes along.  Gotta get me one o’ the kilts!

The first Shriners we see are the Keystone Kops.  They’re always wild and wacky.

And we see the first batch of antiques.  Model T’s are neat.  That first one’s a 1923 in truly original condition.

Junior Dragster.  Okay...

Beauty pageant winners roll along in the back of trucks, followed by Shriner lobster boats.

That’s just such a happy picture!

Junior Miss 4th of July, with her bodyguard.

More Shriners.   Those guys sure do put on a show!

Love that Studebaker truck!  Old dodge right behind.

Finding his red suit to no longer be effective, Satan switches to yellow in a daring bid to claim new souls.

Oh, My God!  It’s land lobster!  Could it be the next “Sharknado?”  Giant mutant lobsters take to land to claw us to death.  You know SyFy is thinking about it!

Shriners trucks.  Bone crushing action!

Barbara’s International School of Dance had a somewhat diminished showing this year.  Not nearly as spectacular as past years.

200 years ago, the British captured Eastport.  That’s apparently something to “celebrate.”  Dirty Redcoats!

Luxor Flag Unit, followed by more beauty pageant winners & runners-up.

And here’s the entirety of the Democrat contingent at the parade.

Robbinston Grange float, followed by something truly weird.

Ahhhh!  What the hell is that?

Is that its spaceship?  WTF???

Y’all need a lift outta this madhouse?

Mooooore Pipahs!

Shead High Float

A photographer for a rival blog?  Get out of my shot!

Moose Island Trolley Tours, with the Shead class of ’59 aboard.

And here come more Shriners!  Love the ramp!

That is one nice looking Dodge station wagon.  I need one!

Yarr!  Here come the pirates!

Is it just me, or do these guys seem like sanitized Disney pirates.  Ye needs tae put on the grit and grime o’ the buccaneer life, ye bloody landlubbers!

And the end of the parade rolls on by.

Thus ended another interesting parade amidst the madness of Eastport’s 4th of July.  Little did anyone know the storm of the century was about to strike!  Where the hell was Biff Buffington on that one, eh?  So, until next year, this is your offbeat reporter, signing off.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Revealed: To Hell with Dante stories!

At long last, the final story has been locked in, and I can now announce the following table of contents for “To Hell with Dante.”

1:  Woman, Thy Name Is Hell—by Edmund Wells
2:  Beelze-Bubba—by Sonny Zae
3:  A Guilty Man—by Shawn Cook
4: The Grey Box—by Lizz-Ayn Shaarawi
5:  Paradise for Purgatory—by Jeff Poole
6:  Gravedigger—by Jeff Provine
7:  Everybody Goes to Heaven, and Then...—by Karl G. Rich
8:  Fangirl, Rip, and the Devil's Daughter—by David Perlmutter
9:  The Early Shift—by Colin Fisher
10:  The Seventh Day—by Patrick J. Hurley
11:  Second Coming—by Laura Sheridan
12:  Believing for a Reason –by Diane Arrelle 
13:  The Trees—by Alex J. Stevens
14:  The Departed that Chained the Ring—by Melissa Osburn
15:  Rendezvous—by Bruno Lombardi
16:  Alone and in Debt—by Francis Gideon
17:  Tartarus Tavern—by Erik Storey
18:  Arabesque—by Ed Ahern
19:  The Ride—by Shawn Cook
20:  The Kingdom of Heaven—by James Hartley

Brief tag-line descriptions of each story will be forthcoming.  In the coming weeks, the final proofing will be underway, and we’re looking at an October 1 release date!  All is proceeding according to plan, which is always nice with an anthology.

Postcards of the week: Sugar!

It's been a while since I shared any of these, so it's about time I dug some more out.  These historical postcards are pretty to look at, and I hope those of you who read the blog enjoy seeing these rare survivors from 100+ years ago.  As usual, these were hand-painted, as they pre-date modern color photography.

This week, I have a couple of postcards from Hawaii, and they involve the sugar cane industry.

The back text on this one reads: "This is a typical cane flume constructed throughout the Territory of Hawaii for transporting the sugar cane from the Highlands direct to the mill."

And finally,

"The main industry of the Hawaiian islands is the growing of sugar.  All about the islands on which Honolulu is situated are immense sugar plantations and some of the largest sugar mills in the world are within a few hours ride from Honolulu.  The science of the cultivation and the milling of sugar cane is nowhere in the world so high a degree as in these islands."