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I will give credit where credit is due (most of the time), the photo and inspiration for today’s post came from one of my oldest and dearest friends. We share a similar sense of humor.

The following is from an elementary school yearbook, a sort of coffee table style compendium with photos of each child opposite the “biographical information” page (can you spell “cute kids = fundraising?”).  This school is not, I might add, in Maine. Each child wrote their own answers to the questions posed. The author of this precious piece is only ten years old. The name has been altered to protect the precocious innocent that wrote this from the undoubted flood of job offers that would otherwise be sure to follow.

From the mouths of babes:

Wanted: Part-Time Burger Flipper at McDonalds

Wanted: Part-Time Burger Flipper at McDonald's

This is one of those rare instances that I’m not going to spoil the image by adding a lot of useless post-photo comments. I think the photo speaks for itself, and the future of America.

Burgers anyone?

A few years ago, my mother decided it was time for her to move from her home of 30 years to a less independent living situation. She picked the spot, and we moved her in. It was February, and my first experience with a Maine winter. It was the winter before I moved to Maine so I while I was here helping her get settled in I was actually staying with her in her new “independent living” apartment, and had rented a micro-sub-mini-compact-no-frills-crap-box cheap cheap cheap rental car hardly more than a bicycle, in order to get around during my stay.

Back in those days I was still a smoker. And very happy in my smoking. Loved each and every cigarette individually and specially.

As we unloaded my mother’s belongings and furniture, I find out that there is no smoking anywhere on the grounds of this new “senior paradise.” The nearest “legal lightup” would be over a mile away.

Well, the long evenings there got longer, and as an insomniac, longer still. It was around 10º outside, and nowhere to smoke. I got to getting into the rental not-a-mobile and driving around the block continuously while smoking. 

This got old, and although gas was not at the price levels it is now, and this car probably got ridiculously good mileage, it is very un-kind to the environment to pollute it with exhaust just to then pollute the air with cigarette smoke. This just seemed wrong, and no matter how cheap the gas, that too was adding up. Also, this is a small town, and I was pretty sure the police were already on their way to check out a mysterious smoke belching continuously circling car, after all, this was the middle of the night. I was the only car on the road.

I then figured, really, it is after midnight, everyone here is over a certain age and are all asleep by now, what would it hurt if I sat in the car in the parking lot with the windows closed (ugh) and had a smoke? It’s dark out, no one will see. Even if they see the cigarette end glowing in the dark, (unlikely from above while I’m in the car below) they won’t be able to see my face, and won’t be able to identify the perpetrator in a line-up during the – no doubt –  ensuing congressional investigation, were I caught.

All well and good except for one little flaw in the plan.

The car.

This vehicle barely had wheels and an engine, and also by the way, had no ashtray, and yet it apparently had a computer on board that decides how certain features behave. 

What am I talking about? It turns out that there is no way to sit inside the vehicle with the engine off without the interior light being on. 

I tried every possible sequence combination of the following activities: turning the engine on, turning it off, turning the lights on, turning them off, latching and unlatching my seatbelt, sitting in the passenger seat, even popping the hood. The only way to get the interior light to go off was to start the engine, release the handbrake and put the car in gear, or conversely, shut the whole thing down, get out, lock the door and walk away. No other options, period. I really hate it when machines think they know better than I what is good for me.

Can any of you explain to me a car that costs $12.95 to BUY, that has no electric anything (manual windows, door locks, seats, mirrors, practically even manual windshield wipers), somehow has an onboard computer with seat sensors that know when you are about to light up? 

I’ve petitioned congress to drop the investigation and should be hearing back sometime next week. 

 

It has been awhile since I’ve posted something that is uniquely Maine and not having to do with winter which we are all sick of anyway. Besides, we are having a one-day record breaking heat wave – highs of 45 today. I’m shfitzing*, I tell you. 

*For those of you not from New York or Eastern Europe, that means “sweating like a pig” in Yiddish. OK, not like a pig, but you get the idea.

So here’s a photo I’ve been saving up for just this occasion.

 

No parking here.

No Parking - Any Time

I’m not going to have a contest for it, there’s no need, the photo speaks for itself. I’d leave it at that and end here but who can resist?

The roadside pond that this sign is in was frozen solid, even though it was fall and temperatures were in the fifties and hadn’t reached freezing yet. I cannot explain this but I do have two witnesses one of which is my nephew who snapped this photo for me with my camera because I just couldn’t seem to frame the shot so that it made sense. I guess he couldn’t either because I’m pretty sure it still doesn’t make any sense. Are they worried that the U.S.S. George Herbert Walker Bush is going to pull in here and park overnight? Actually, that would worry me too.

I did notice, when I moved here, that parking signs abound. There are very few street signs here, in a place where streets have different names for every block – but there is a parking sign every few feet. Sometimes they are made of paper and are stapled to trees. For real. Official city signs. I don’t have a photo of that handy so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Now if this were Italy, where I lived for 20 years, I’d assume that the mayor’s brother-in-law had a sign company, but this is Maine and we don’t do things that way. We just want to make sure you know exactly where to park, for how long and also where not to park, any time. And in case you are still not sure, we will waive your first parking ticket every 6 months.

So in case you pull in here, next to our newest aircraft carrier, you’ll still get a bye!

OK, so the “name-the-cow-and-oar-on-the-roof-of-the-lobster-shack-photo” contest is over. Actually, to be precise, it was over in the middle of last night, at 12:01 AM.  

The number of entries was so small that I almost hesitate to end the contest, but I have a feeling that extending it won’t encourage any additional entries, so why keep the suspense going? After all, I wouldn’t want any of you to keel over from sheer excitement. That wouldn’t do. There are so few of you dear, loyal readers already, if you started keeling over, where would I be with my lonely little blog and no readers?

So without further ado….

 

Honorable Mention goes to Rhonda Berg who, while she had no entry for naming the photo, had the best explanation for why the oar and the cow on the shack, which I will kindly reproduce for you here instead of inserting another annoying link back to the original post (one per post is probably enough, but don’t hold me to it):  

“Why the cow? Clearly, if I need to tell you which shack is my shack…well, it’s the one with the cow on it! The oar? That worked at first until all the shacks got oars!”

I think I love Rhonda. She gets it. And therefore is most likely a Mainer.

Moving on with the prize distribution:

Last Place goes to Dublin16 for her entry “Bob,” pronounced “Bahb” if done properly with a Mainer twang. Dublin is fortunate there were so few entries.

Third Place goes to Nancy J. for “High Beef.” Pronounced “High Beef.” I already love Nancy, she’s been a pal for almost 20 years (yikes!).

Second Place goes to Rochelle for “Steak Oar Lobster” because both the oar and the cow figure in her entry.  Rochelle is one determined lady and she was going to win at all costs.

Luckily for you all, I’m afraid of the sight of blood, soooo (drum roll please………)

 

THE WINNER IS:

"Oar steak is on the house"

"Oar steak is on the house"

ROCHELLE!!!!!!!! (Cue marching band, ticker tape parade, Miss America waving from the rear of a pink convertible…..)

Hey! I SAID CUE THE…..what? Someone goofed? No band, no parade, no Miss America? I’m furious. Apparently if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.  

Folks, I apologize. Unfortunately, I am informed that due to a slight budget miscalculation, there will be no marching band, no ticker-tape parade, and no Miss America waving from the rear of a pink convertible.

Next time we’ll try to work out those kinks ahead of time. Of course I might be inclined to increase the budget a tad if more of you cared to add your comments to my posts. How else would I know that you are out there?

My first year in Maine I was forced to return to California for business in early February. Since long term airport parking for 2 weeks was actually cheaper than cabbing it to the airport, I chose to leave my car at the indoor long-term lot while I was gone.

Flash forward to the day after Valentine’s Day, 2 weeks later. I returned from California to my trusty Subaru in its spot on the 3rd floor of the indoor lot (did I mention that this lot is indoors?) at the airport and this is what I found:

 

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Yes, my car was covered in snow. You will note that the part of the car that is covered with snow is not the part facing the window. The snow-covered part of the car, the rear, was on the aisle side! And by the way, in case you think that the opposite side windows were right behind me letting snow in, there were 6 aisles of cars between where I was standing taking the shot and the other side of the garage behind me, the equivalent of 2 full city blocks away. The drive between the aisles had actually been plowed (yes, plowed – with a truck, not blown with a blower) leaving mounds of snow at the ends of each aisle. The bottom of the ramp tower, a spiral car ramp housed in its own tower which was completely closed off to the outside, also had a big pile of unsullied snow on the floor at the bottom.

I’m thankful that I had the presence of mind to at least take this photo. Because I’m pretty sure that although you will all turn out to be very loyal readers who will return to this site daily and leave all sorts of clever comments – daily, I know that I’m still new to some of you, and you wouldn’t have believed me. Those of you who know me and my family’s own named-after-it scale of exaggeration, definitely wouldn’t have believed me.

As an added bonus to the big pile of snow between me and the driver’s seat, my car was completely out of juice because some nimrod had left the dome light on (now who would do that?). I was able, with the last few ounces of power left in my less than trusty cell phone, to call AAA for a jump – which it took them well over an hour to deliver. Since my flight was the last arrival before the airport closed for the night and the sidewalks were rolled in, there were no Samaritans around to help (all Mainers are good Samaritans – I think it’s genetic. Had there been anyone around at all I not only would have been given a jump but a full tune up and a lube too, no doubt!).

By now I was freezing my toes off, because although I had left my parka in the car when I left on my trip, I was dressed for California winter weather (75 – 95 degrees) and not wearing any long underwear, heavy clothing or appropriate foot gear (like socks!). As you can see by the trampled (all by me) snow next to the driver’s side door, I did a lot of trekking back and forth in said snow trying to keep warm and get the blasted car – and heat – going…to no avail, leaving me still freezing cold but with the added benefit of soaking wet feet. The delightful “breeze” (as they call it here) coming through the open window was, well, less than delightful. Luckily the AAA guy showed up before I needed an ambulance so all was well and luckily I got to keep all of my toes. I wasn’t thinking too clearly by time he arrived but was compus mentus enough to ask how it is possible that cars can get covered in snow from the inside side of an indoor garage…

And the reply was, of course:  “It snowed.” Silly me.

lobster-cow1

 

OK, there really is no correct answer. This “building” is a lobster shack at the local port, the cow is plastic (at any rate it wasn’t mooing at the time) and the oar is there for….what? Effect? Steering? Not a clue. Since I’m such a crappy photographer I didn’t know that I should have gotten more of the surroundings into the shot for scale and context so I’ll have to spell it out for you: This shack – which is about the size of your average single outhouse – without the front porch – was completely surrounded by 15 foot tall stacks of interlocking pier parts that had been hauled out of the water for the winter along with a whole mess of lobster traps and buoys.

Heh, buoys. That word always makes me break out in peals of laughter, I don’t know why.

OK, moving forward: I cannot find the words to describe for you the putrid stench of rotting seaweed, urchins, lichen, lobster, lobster poo and god only knows what else (wait, maybe it WAS an outhouse. For cows? Like, “Gents,” “Ladies,” “Cows?”) coming of of those pier parts. By the way, not bad for a cell phone shot, huh?  

Sadly, the cow, the shack and the interlocking piers no longer exist (ah, gentrification development in the name of greed progress, so sad), so those of you planning a pilgrimage, stop packing now. The smell still lingers, however, like a ghost, unwilling to leave for its journey to the so-called Other Side.

I feel terrible (not) that I cannot provide you all with an explanation of how and why this particular cow came to be up there on that particular roof or what purpose it served or what it symbolized, or how it survived the brutal Maine winter gales coming off the water. So, to placate my readers and avoid having to face what would surely be an angry torch-bearing crowd a la Frankenstein, how about a naming contest? I’ll leave the contest open for a week, ending at 12:01 AM EST on next Tuesday 1/27/09. Winning entry will be posted below after the deadline, as soon as I get around to it. Entries received after the deadline will be ignored. Unless I really, really like it. Because here, in my own little world, I am the law. Enter as many times as you like, one entry per comment (tricky aren’t I?). Only entries submitted as comments to this post will be considered. Since I am the sole judge and I am a merciless god on my own blog, there will be no disputing the arbitrariness of the rules, or the choice of winning caption. The entry with the best caption for this photograph gets…..the satisfaction of knowing they are the cleverest among the 2.5 of you that aren’t too chicken to actually show their avatars and leave a comment – and me.

Good luck to you all!