Thanks For the Tank
I could use a tank. Good traction in the winter. Gets to those hard-to-reach places during mud season. Frightens away pesky tourists in the summer. And if I want to go leaf-peeping in the fall, I won’t have to worry about being shot by hunters.
Also, having a tank in the front yard would be an excellent conversation starter with my neighbors.
Neighbor: “I see you have a tank.”
Me: “Surrender or die, you scum.”
But even with all of these practical uses, the federal Department of Defense has so far refused to give me a surplus tank. Instead, the DoD has turned over two of its unneeded M113 armored personnel carriers to the Portland Police Department for use in situations in which a tank might come in handy.
Such as …
Well, nobody seems too certain about that, but I’m sure someone will come up with an idea sooner or later. One of the tanks will be equipped with a battering ram, in case something needs to be battered. The other will be used for spare parts. Nobody’s talking about using it to chase tourists down Commercial Street and off piers.
In Skowhegan, the town is all abuzz about the new weathervane that will be placed on the public library. It will look like a giant sneaker.
The $3,000 sculpture, paid for with a grant from the Maine Community Foundation (motto: Footing the Bill for Footwear), will depict an enormous athletic shoe, because they make a lot of athletic shoes in Skowhegan. And also because it will commemorate a program to inspire children to be more active. And also because it will remind people of the many walking trails in town and scenic hikes in the countryside.
The big shoe will be created by local metalworker Barry Norling. Library officials are now looking for an artist to color the thing. For the installation ceremony, I think everyone in town should put on a pair of appropriate shoes and race through town with the Portland Police Department’s tank in hot pursuit.
It could become an annual event, like the running of the bulls or that place in Spain where they thrown tomatoes at each other.
Speaking of messy events in downtowns, the Maine Energy Recovery Co. incinerator in downtown Biddeford may be one step closer to ending its stinky existence.
A task force has been formed (motto: No, We Didn’t Step in Something, That’s The Incinerator) to figure out how to close the monstrosity down. Members include local and state officials, MERC’s owners and area businesspeople.
The Maine Community Foundation has already promised to pay for a weathervane to commemorate the closing. It’ll feature a really smelly athletic shoe.
Last week, I mentioned the story about famous defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey being involved in a minor accident on Interstate 295 in Brunswick and the ensuing speculation about what Bailey was doing in Maine. Now we know the truth.
He was here helping O.J. Simpson in his search for the real killers.
Also, he visited with convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine at the Maine State Prison in Warren.
Dechaine is serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of a 12-year –old girl. He’s hoping to get a new trial based on DNA evidence, and Bailey has agreed to serve as a consultant for his defense team. Maybe he needs the work after being disbarred in Florida and Massachusetts.
The crime of the week – aside from me not getting a tank – occurred in Lewiston, where somebody stole an 83-year-old woman’s antique bicycle.
Ruth Slovenski got the Huffy bike in the early 1940s as a birthday present from her parents and has ridden it ever since. But somebody swiped it while she was getting coffee in a shop near Bates College.
The news generated statewide publicity (hey, it wasn’t the busiest of weeks for Maine journalists), and within a day, Slovenski had her wish granted. The Department of Defense gave her a surplus tank.
Just kidding. Actually, her bike turned up right after the story broke.
A guy said somebody he didn’t know gave the stolen Huffy to him, and he recognized it and called the cops.
If you buy that, I’ve got an incinerator in Biddeford I can sell you cheap.
Also from the crime blotter, thieves in Portland are breaking into cars and stealing vehicle inspection stickers.
Apparently, the little squares of paper are worth big bucks to folks who would otherwise have to put even more money into repairing their cars to keep them on the road. Portland police expect to solve the crime just as soon as they get their tank on the road.
What was the hottest film in Maine this past week? “Hannah Montana”? Nope. “Fast and Furious”? Guess again. “Tank Girl 2”? Come on, I just made that one up. After the first “Tank Girl,” no one could seriously believe there’d be a sequel.
The must-see movie in Maine is “The Way We Get By,” a documentary about the volunteer troop greeters at Bangor International Airport.
Director Aron Gaudet and producer Gita Pullapilly were on hand for the critically acclaimed film’s first showing in this state on April 9 at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono, where the audience reaction was said to be overwhelmingly positive. Nobody is making the same claim for “Dragonball: Evolution.”
The Portland Pirates clinched a spot in the American Hockey League playoffs on April 10 by beating the Providence Bruins 6-5.
If you’re one of those people who think hockey is too violent, consider this. No one in Pirates history has ever been attacked during a game by a guy in a seal suit being driven on a go-kart. The same cannot be said for baseball.
The Portland Sea Dogs began their Double-A season on April 9, and two days later, mascot Slugger, making his entrance to Hadlock Field on a motorized tractor, almost demolished an opposing player.
This has happened at least twice in previous seasons, and Sea Dogs management always promises changes to protect the visiting team. Time for something more than lip service.
Time for common sense.
Speaking of which, the state Department of Public Safety displayed some in ruling that the town of Greenville could not deny the Black Frog Restaurant a liquor license.
The selectmen had tried to revoke the Frog’s right to sell booze after a promotion last year in which the quirky eatery offered its Skinny Dip sandwich for free to anyone willing to jump naked into Moosehead Lake. Three people were arrested and charged with indecent exposure for taking the restaurant up on the deal. A state official decided the incident had nothing to do with any liquor law violation, and maybe the town fathers should consider not wearing such tight underwear.
Finally, the Legislature displayed some common sense of its own and is close to passing a bill that will allow brew pubs in the state to sell beer in half-gallon bottles directly from their bars.
Previously, brew pubs could only sell beer to go from a separate entrance, a condition that many smaller establishments couldn’t comply with. Once this legislation becomes law, probably this fall, I’ll be first in line to make a purchase. But I won’t be buying a mere half-gallon. I want a whole …
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.