Patrick Alan Coleman, a food writer for the Portland Mercury over in the other Portland, is trying to start a cross-country inter-Portland food fight, with this post, in which he pledges to "continue to bait" us over here in the original Portland. I say let's take him.
First up, Portland, Maine, is the original Portland - Coleman dismisses this claim, but he should check the program his crosstown rival Willamette Week issued at the 2007 conference of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
According to a press release we received on Friday, "the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford area is the 18th most secure place to live in the United States among large metropolitan areas." The study was released by the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, and takes into account crime statistics, "extreme weather" and "risk of natural disasters," housing issues, air quality, and life expectancy. Topping the list, at numbers 1 and 2, respectively, are the Seattle and Portland (Oregon) metro areas.
Yes, so you've read all the exhortations to buy local, and shop local, and all that stuff. But you're out of money, and you still need some more gifts. Well, from the Shameless Promotion Department of the Portland Phoenix, we offer this advice:
Pick up a FREE copy of this week's issue of the Portland Phoenix, and use a pair of scissors (borrow one if you have to) to cut out the artwork by eight local artists, and give them away to friends and family!
As it turns out - and, I suppose, as should have been
obvious - liveblogging a book doesn't make much of any sense. Especially one as
intertwined and nuanced as 2666. I'm still at a relative loss to summarize it,
let alone analyze it. Left thinking about: the five sections, all somewhat
distinctive stylistically, that just end; how we learn everything about the
life and nothing about the work of the fictional author that motivates much of
this tale; the characters all searching for clues - to the whereabouts of a
lost writer, to the murderer(s) of hundreds of young women in northern Mexico,
to their sexual and romantic needs and desires, to how to escape squalor and
grief, to the importance of identity, to the symbolism of their dreams - which,
in many cases, they find and lead to nothing.
Portland musician and rock-historian Allen Lowe has a piece in the current issue of the Oxford American, the magazine's 10th annual "Southern Music Issue." He extols the virtues of the Hampton Grease Band, whom he describes as "a group that had everything I liked in not just rock & roll but in all music."
Regardless of the possibly-apocryphal "fact" that the HGB's debut album was, as Lowe notes, the second-lowest selling release in the history of Columbia Records, Lowe's sense of discovery and genuine excitement are palpable - even as he describes guitarist Glenn Phillips as "better and more interesting as a guitarist than Frank Zappa."
The Sanford High School Marching Band will perform in Barack Obama's inaugural parade. Of course, it seems the transition team didn't read Rick Wormwood's story a couple weeks back, "Last of the Redskins," in which we detailed the likelihood that Sanford High School will be the last team in Maine to use the "Redskins" nickname, which many Native Americans consider offensive.
With Governor Baldacci imposing $10s of millions in budget reductions, and the legislature scrambling to figure out what agencies and programs can stand another round of severe cuts, everyone's trying to make sure they keep their piece of the pie. Not only that, but everyone thinks they have the solution, the answers, the best way to climb out of this dreadful abyss
The Black Bird Collective's eight-week petition drive gathering opposition to torture and human-rights abuses in the Maine State Prison will close tonight with an evening talk about Maine prison conditions, international human-rights laws, and the collective's efforts to support anti-torture legislation in Maine and at the federal level.
The growing prominence of women in Maine politics, as evidenced by Chellie Pingree's election (she's the first Democratic female elected to the US House or Senate from Maine), and the selection of Hannah Pingree and Libby Mitchell to lead their respective state legislative houses (both have set records -- Pingree is the youngest woman to serve in her role; Mitchell is the first person to have served as a leader in both state houses), is in line with national trends.
Google Street View has come to Maine - and we expect privacy problems will not be far behind. To see what's going on, visit maps.google.com and notice there's an orange person-shaped figure at the top of the zoom-in/zoom-out slider on the left side of the map area. Drag the orange figure over the map itself, and you'll see areas highlighted in blue - those are where Street View works.
The folks at WBLM (102.9 FM, "the Blimp") have banded together to raise money for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, an Auburn-based nonprofit that helps feed hungry people across Maine, both on its own and in partnership with local food banks.
The BLM Band (a bunch of DJs and employees at the radio station) have written and recorded "The Blimp That Saved Christmas" - an optimistically named song - and made it available for download at the station's Web site, wblm.
As many as 150 UMaine-Orono students will be racing around campus this week either trying to eat each other's brains, or trying to save what remain of their brains from being eaten, as a campus-wide Humans vs. Zombies game plays out.
The effort will raise money for the Good Shepherd Food-Bank, which is a nice way to provide food for those who are not yet undead and can eat things other than BRAAAAAAAAIIINNNNNSSSSSSSS...
Longtime Portland Phoenix readers may remember an intern we had four-plus years ago, a woman who had come over from Germany in 1999-2000 for a year of exchange-student study at Edward Little High School, and then came back when she was in college to spend a few more months in Maine. Her name then waas Claudia Karl, but she has since married and taken the name of her boyfriend, René Topplep.
As mentioned earlier, Deirdre Fulton and I are in the thick of Roberto Bolano's 2666, the Moby-Dick of international literary intrigue/mass serial murder novels. Here's some brief commentary on part 4 of the book, "The Part About the Crimes." I'm just about finished with this section - I wrote this in the middle of it - and I'll have more to say about it later.
Found online: this 1993 video gem, demonstrating the genius of (the now late) Manny Versoza. The song can be heard - by local-music aficionados - on the inaugural volume of the Greetings from Area Code 207 series.
H/T Sam Pfeifle