Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Animal News

Yesterday's news included another exciting story about animals. "Man hurls hedgehog at teen, pays fine," was the story picked up by the Associated Press and reported in my local news. It seems a teenager in Whakatane, New Zealand was "attacked" by a man wielding a dead hedgehog. The man received a fine for his indiscretion. It was not clear what the teenager did to deserve this treatment.

This just in from National Nine News in Australia:

William Singalargh, 27, was fined for assault and offensive behaviour by a court in the east coast North Island city of Whakatane after a more serious charge of assault with a weapon -- the hedgehog -- was dropped.

Singalargh claimed he was not the phedgehog hurler, but judge Ian Thomas preferred the evidence of other witnesses who identified him by the bright orange trousers he was wearing.

The 15-year-old boy was returning home with two friends when he was confronted by four men on the road outside his home, the court was told.

Singalargh was holding a hedgehog and asked the boy: "Do you want to wear a hedgehog helmet?"

After the boy declined, Singhalargh threw the prickly weapon, leaving a large red welt and four quills lodged in his hip.

When the boy's mother intervened to prevent a second throw, Singalargh pulled down his trousers and exposed his buttocks.

"He admitted to having been in possession of a hedgehog," police Constable Lyndon Reid said.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jersey Drivers

Ford Taurus
If you grew up in New York City, you heard the expression - usually spoken with disparaging adjectives - "Jersey driver." Everyone in New York always assumed the people residing on the other side of the Hudson River were among the worst drivers on the planet.
Now there is proof.

According to an article in yesterday's Portland Press Herald (PPH), a "nationwide survey" by auto insurer GMAC reveals Jersey drivers scored dead last in their knowledge of driving rules.

"Doesn't surprise me at all," said Ken Elias of Edgewater, N.J., who was driving
to Acadia National Park on Friday. "There are a number of really rude drivers in
Jersey. But, hey, it's great to be first in something."
Here in Maine, the disdain for bad drivers is directed towards people from Massachusetts. Indeed in my nearly 30 years in Maine, I have to agree that the folks from Mass are pretty bad, but clearly, in my mind, not as bad as those from The Garden State. According to the survey, Massachusetts drivers came in fourth from the bottom, one step ahead from New York drivers.

According to this same survey, Mainers scored 31st among the state - somewhere around half. So, if asked, I will tell you I am a (great) Maine driver and deny the fact that I learned to drive in New York.
Drive carefully!

PS: I just took the test and scored 95% (one wrong). Take that New Jersey!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Animal Tales

There were three unrelated animal tales in yesterday's paper that made me laugh.

First, a Vietnamese Pot-bellied pig has been running free on the campus of one of Maine's prestigous institutions of higher education, Colby College. According to the Kennebec Journal, "The pig was last under human control when Colby students, who were not identified, had taken the pet pig to a campus cookout, where it slipped its leash, Collins said. The students were not planning to kill the pig at the cookout." Here is the whole story.

The second story is in from Maine. According to the AP article, Blacky, a Mexican donkey was released from jail for biting and kicking two men. My guess is they probably deserved it. Here is the whole story about Blacky.

And last, from Japan, "When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help." Apparently the owners have been teaching the bird his name and address but the bird was selective in who he spoke to. "'I’m Mr. Yosuke Nakamura,' the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs." Read more about Yosuke.

Much better than the other news in the papers these days.


Monday, May 05, 2008

PHC in Maine

If you didn't tune in to hear Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion last Saturday night, you missed one of the great performances of the year. One of the featured guests was Maine's own David Mallett who provided an excellent performance. First was a work called Angel Standing followed by a new piece Fishing. Fishing is part of a project called The Fable True, based upon the words of Henry David Thoreau and celebrates the 150 anniversary of Thoreau's final trip to Maine. You can get more info about Dave and the new album on his website.

Mallett also closed the show with "the Maine state theme song," The Garden Song which itself is celebrating a 30th anniversary. There couldn't have been a dry eye in the house.

But not to despair! PHC is streamed on-line and can be listen to by visiting the website. Here is the link to the May 3rd show.

Get Your Choo-Choo On!


"To raise awareness of the vital role rail plays in our nation’s transportation system, Amtrak will celebrate its first annual National Train Day during six weeks of celebrations culminating on Saturday, May 10, 2008.
"On May 10 Amtrak will host events at four of its largest stations, Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where visitors may take part in a variety of activities including live musical performances, exhibits, trip planning, VIP appearances and trip giveaways. Serving as spokesperson for National Train Day is television personality Al Roker. Mr. Roker will experience, first-hand, the benefits of rail travel when he travels from New York to Washington, by train, for the day’s festivities."
There is even a place on the website to vote on your favorite "train song." Sorry my two were not among the choices provided. My all time favorite is City of New Orleans written by Steve Goodman but made famous by Arlo Gurthrie and Pennsylvania Sunrise by Dave Mallett. More on Dave in another blog.