Life is funny, wanna have a cup of coffee? J.P. Devine asks. On The Edge “I can’t do coffee, but I can do Dr. Pepper.” – Cher It’s there in your hand, on your kitchen counter, the table, or in a thermos waiting to go with you. It’s the ubiquitous dark universal drug of choice. Okay, it’s not officially a drug. Then what is coffee? You tell me. Coffee. It’s all about coffee, I drink one a day and I don’t even like it. So why do I do it? Where did it start, this drinking something I only like when it’s iced and it’s 95 degrees? Caffeine hits my brain like a car leaving the track at the Indy 500 head on. Too much at a dinner party, and I turn the room into a club and never shut up until people start drifting into the kitchen and staring back at me, as I stand there talking to empty couches. This embarrasses She, who only drinks fruit juice. So when I do it, it’s decaffeinated. Almost no one does that. People who drink decaf in America are like bare foot skiers in the Alps. Who does this? It’s so rare that the baristas at the various coffee houses stare at me for a moment and then say, ” It’ll take a minute to brew some.” “Why?” “Because you’re the only one who asks for it.” “I can’t be the only one.” “No, someone came in last week and asked for it.” So why do I drink it at all? Where did I learn this? After my father’s death, my mother started sleeping later and later. Then she started having migraines. She was after all, only 48 when her husband died. Menopause and death is a bad brew. (keep reading at the Kennebec Journal)
PORTLAND, Maine — From serene lighthouses to mysterious skulls to myriad self-portraits, Robert Nason’s work covers a panoply of genres, decades and wives. For the seven years he has painted at Running with Scissors in Portland, the 90-year-old has outlasted creatives who are years younger. On Saturday, his show Nason At Ninety opens in the collective’s gallery. Like the man himself, the work dating back to the 1950s is evidence of a multifaceted life. “It’s really an experiment,” he says of the show. His watercolors, oils and charcoals were selected by relatives, friends and a fellow artist who “looked at everything in my studio and storage space, thousands of pieces,” he said. The result? “New and surprising.” That sums up Nason’s approach to life. Unlike his neighbors in the nearby apartment complex where he lives, he is up and out every day in his studio creating. In a cramped room lined with colorful canvases, paints, crayons and work spilling out into the hallway, there is always something to keep him engaged. “I don’t usually wake up and decide what I’m going to do,” he said of his daily practice. “A lot of them are not finished. So as I look around, I see something and I say, ‘That one needs work.’ That gets me going.” (read more at the Bangor Daily News)
AUGUSTA – In a robing ceremony conducted at the Kennebec County Superior Courthouse this afternoon, Governor Paul R. LePage administered the oath of office to seven judges – five appointees to the District Court and two District Court judges appointed to the Superior Court.
The following individuals are those newly appointed to the District Court:
Judge Andrew Benson, Athens
Judge William Schneider, Durham
Judge Lance Walker, Falmouth
Judge Eric Walker, Belmont
Judge Barbara Raimondi, Auburn
These new judges received from Chief Justice Saufley at the ceremony a judicial robe symbolizing objectivity, neutrality, and the Rule of Law.
Governor LePage also administered the oath of office to Superior Court appointees Justice Daniel I. Billings of Bowdoinham and Justice Robert E. Mullen of Waterville.
“I commend you for your work to uphold a standard of integrity in our judicial system. I am confident in your character and have great faith in your sense of fairness,” Governor LePage told the judges and justices. “Thank you for your dedication to the people of Maine and to our Great State of Maine.”
May 2, 2014
According to a recent Gallup poll, the three states where people are least likely to find the grass greener on the other side of the proverbial fence are Hawaii, Montana and… drumroll, please… Maine. The way life should be. Only 23 percent of Mainers would leave the state if they could, according to Gallup, which is a tie for the lowest percentage in the country along with the two aforementioned states. The polling took place from June through December of last year, when organization representatives interviewed at least 600 residents older than 18 years old in each state, and asked: “Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?” In contrast to Maine, about half of everybody in Illinois (50 percent), Connecticut (49 percent) and Maryland (47 percent) would leave their respective states if they could only find a way. By that metric, if you met two people on the bus in Chicago, it’s a good bet one of them would want to be somewhere else. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)
It’s always a good time at the Wiscasset Community Center’s senior center when Ellie Tracy plays piano and fellow members of the center sing along. But the music had added meaning on March 19. The members were honoring the Jasmin-Melnicove family of Dresden, for giving the circa 1920 piano to the senior center about a year ago. On hand for the supper and the singing were Denise Jasmin, and her 92-year-old mother, Lee Damioli. “I think it’s great,” Damioli said about the recognition the family was receiving for the donation. “Thank you, ladies,” Rudi Rines said during a program for the guests of honor. Then he led fellow members in a round of applause for them. While Tracy played the upright, Rines and a line-up of other members sang “Sweet Caroline.” (keep reading at the Wiscasset Newspaper)
It’s funny how certain patterns recur in life. Not comical, necessarily, just odd. My first piece in The Forecaster, even before The View From Away, was about attending a performance by my daughter’s special-needs dance class in Falmouth. This one touches briefly on the always inspiring STRIVE Rocks! Dance Marathon at the Maine Mall (go next year; you won’t regret it). I went into both events feeling pouty because my hip hurt. I left both events a little embarrassed by my own weakness and impressed by what I saw around me. My story starts the Monday before the event. We had returned from a week in Denver. Either the semi-arid environment of the Mile High City, or the few days’ break from winter, or the fact it was in the 40s, I was feeling good. Digging the snow away from the trash bins and from around my wife’s car was a breeze, 10 minutes of easy shoveling before popping down to the Old Port to meet the accountant. I thought signing our tax returns would be the most painful experience of the day. (read more at The Forecaster)
I can get my house painted inside and out, new windows put in, a complete roof remake. I can get my lawn mowed, raked and seeded. I can have a new boiler put in, the basement redone, floors polished and my dog groomed. But I can’t find anyone to fix a drawer. The drawer is in the upstairs bathroom. It’s part of an oversized vanity, much like my own. It has two big drawers, hers and mine. Wouldn’t you know that it’s mine that’s broken? It appears that the sliding fixtures have detached somewhere in the back, and the drawer sort of hangs there like Quasimodo, who has forgotten where the bells are. I tried fixing it myself and for a piece of time, it worked; then, like everything else I’ve fixed in life, such as my daughter’s tricycle, it came undone and it’s hanging there. The problem is the once-ubiquitous handyman has faded from the American scene.There was a time when I was younger, back around the time Franklin Roosevelt defeated Wendell Willkie, that the landscape was sprinkled with handymen. It was an honorable profession, almost like being a bus driver or school janitor. Every American neighborhood from St. Louis to New Orleans, and Waterville had one or two. (read more, just before bedtime, at Kennebec Journal)
The summer of 2013 has been one of constant struggle and occasional open warfare. With insects. I’m not talking about mosquitoes and black flies. I’m a Maine native. I know how to deal with them. This year I have been doing battle royal with ants, fleas, hornets and bees, not to mention deer flies. It was the insurgent ants that first got me going this summer. One day I discovered that tiny little pavement ants had infiltrated our home and established a supply route from the kitchen window up the wall and along the top of the cupboards. Barely noticeable, these busy little invaders went about their secret business despite our daily retaliations with a rubber spatula. (We didn’t want to spray anything because of the grandchildren.) Then one day I took everything out of the cupboards and discovered that what they were after was a single sugary fruit jelly candy inside a clear plastic box. You would have thought it was impenetrable, but it was filled with a battalion of the little buggers. Tossed out the candy and got rid of the pests. (read more, if you don’t have any wet paint to watch, at The Forecaster)
AUGUSTA — Any efforts to improve the economy in Maine will be thwarted by the state’s aging population unless the state can attract more young people, and the widely held goal of preventing young Mainers from moving out of state won’t come close to solving the problem. That was the keynote message from University of Southern Maine economist Charles Colgan during a four-part forum launched Tuesday morning by House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. “People assume that if we could just keep our young people here, it would solve the problem,” said Colgan to dozens of people who gathered at the Augusta Civic Center. “There are not half enough of them because not enough young people are born here. We have to get people from other places to move here. We’ve got to get more people in.” Colgan, who is regarded as one of the state’s most experienced economists, estimates that in addition to keeping Mainers from moving away, the state must attract at least 3,000 new residents a year for the next 20 years in order to sustain the state’s workforce. It won’t be easy. In addition to myriad reasons that Maine is at a competitive disadvantage — ranging from tax rates to frigid winters — a dearth of high-paying jobs that could prompt young people to come to the Pine Tree State poses a major recruitment challenge. (read more at Lewiston Sun Journal)
BANGOR, Maine — Some Bangor residents want the city to tone down the Waterfront Concerts, arguing their quality of life and right to peace and quiet on summer nights are being disrupted. Others defend the concerts as a boon to the city’s growth and diversity, and argue that organizers and artists are simply catering to the desires of the thousands of fans who purchase tickets. A Monday night City Council workshop drew dozens of residents, who packed into council chambers to voice their support for Waterfront Concerts or call for organizers to find ways turn down the volume. The meeting was called after the city received about 25 complaints from residents of Bangor and a smattering from outlying communities during a July 17 heavy metal music festival. Paul Trommer of Leighton Street in Bangor said the concerts have resulted in an “erosion of the quality of life in Bangor.” “I’m no prude, but I’ve got a real problem with the screaming and foul language at these concerts,” Trommer told the council. “You’ve hoisted it on the city, you’ve turned downtown into a mosh pit.” (read more at Bangor Daily News)