Daily Archives: March 22, 2010

Snowmobiles, ATVs, lobster boats used for census in Maine | AP Nation – Ledger-Enquirer.com

Snowmobiles, ATVs, lobster boats used for census – AP Nation – Ledger-Enquirer.com

 [For full disclosure, I was born in the same city where Danielle Forino lives and where they are using ATVs and snowshoes to deliver census forms. It’s a cool little bordertown, but rather remote. — KM]

Keith’s rides, Part 1: My first ‘status symbol’ was a Jeep Commando

[This is the first of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven so far in my life. It may or may not be of interest to anyone other than myself. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

Far too often a car is seen as a status symbol, a measure of the total man or woman driving the car.

An expensive car denotes success. Or, at least, it symbolizes money, whether it be old money or new.

A compact car, economy car or one that is broken down denotes failure, hard times, a lack of resources, when perhaps it really should symbolize a concern for the environment or thriftiness.

An expensive car denotes confidence and financial freedom.

A compact or economy car denotes insecurity and frugality.

An expensive car denotes virility.

A compact car … well, doesn’t.

Far too much weight is put on the type of car or vehicle a person drives.

I have had a couple of cars and other vehicles since the time I took driver’s education at Ashland Community High School in the late 1970s. None are particularly spectacular and most were either hand-me-downs or used vehicles.

But they are the rides I have had over the years.

Here’s a multi-part drive down the memory lane that are the rides of my past.

Jeep Commando

The first vehicle I was able to claim as mine was a Jeep Commando. So, I suppose the Jeep Commando – descendant of the vehicle that helped the Allies win World War II and took generations of woodsmen into the backcountry – is my first status symbol. I’m not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

OK, I really couldn’t “claim” the Commando since it belonged to my parents. It was used for plowing the driveway in the winter and woodland excursions in the spring, summer and fall.

Living in the Deep Dark Woods of Northern Maine means long, dark, cold, snowy winters. The driveway to my family’s home was a fairly long piece of gravel and shale, especially if you were using a shovel or snow scope to clear it after a significant snowfall.

Add to that, fairly steep front and back stairs from the house to the driveway, and you have some pretty significant snow removal going on.

You can imagine how pleased I was when my father brought home the Commando, complete with a small plow on front. I don’t recall where he purchased it or even if my mother had a say in it. All I know is that seeing that rig meant a little less work for me and my aching back.

It also meant I had a ride to various extracurricular activities – soccer, baseball and basketball practices and games, mostly. It is about 11 miles from Portage to Ashland and trying to catch the activity bus was a large hassle, so I was allowed to use the Commando from time to time.

I don’t recall the model year of the Commando, but it had a removable hardtop – in other words, it was a convertible – and pretty fun to drive around. I recall that my Dad ended up getting a broken down Commando for parts for the one we actually used, which he painted a metallic gray and added a blue softcover for the summer. He also added a rollbar, which was pretty cool.

According to Jeep-Commando.com – yes, there is a website – the Commando was manufactured from 1966 to 1971. Here’s a bit of what can be found at http://www.jeep-commando.com/.

Because of the short time of production, the Jeep Commando is a rare, hard to find Jeep. A lot of people say the Jeep Commando looks a lot like the International Scout and the Ford Bronco.

In 1966, Jeep, then owned by Kaiser, launched the Jeepster Commando to compete with the Bronco and Land Cruiser. The Jeepster Commando was available only in three models: a convertible, pickup truck, and a wagon (like the Jeepster, this was a really cool looking vehicle in my opinion). The (Kaiser) Jeepster Commando stayed in production until 1969. In 1970 AMC bought Jeep from Kaiser, and then in 1972 AMC shortened the name to just Commando and changed the grill design to look more like that of a Bronco, but it didn’t catch on. The Jeep Commando was taken out of production in 1973. Check out The American Jeepster Club for more on these cool Jeep spin-offs.

I don’t recall when or how or why my parents got rid of the Commando. All I know is that I enjoyed driving that thing.

Rides of My Life … so far

Part 1: Jeep Commando

Part 2: VW Bug

Part 3: Dodge Duster

Part 4: Chevrolet Caprice Classic

Part 5: Nissan pickup

Part 6: Suzuki Sidekick

Part 7: Isuzu Rodeo

Part 8: Honda CRV

Coffeehouse observation No. 86

A woman who looks a lot like Penelope Cruz – especially around the nose and mouth and hair –  just came into the coffeehouse and is sitting directly behind me. I don’t want to stare, but she is quite beautiful. There should be more mirrors in coffeehouses, I think.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Coffeehouse observation No. 85

Yesterday spotted a guy roll up to the coffeehouse on a bicycle, come in, use the bathroom, come back out, ask a dude outside for a cigarette, and walk on when the dude refused. It was then that I noticed that the guy had the wrong pant leg rolled up to keep it out of the bike sprocket. I wanted to follow just a little while to see if the guy took a tumble. Is that so wrong?

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

1 millionth soldier arrives at Bangor airport | Bangor Daily News

Maine Greeters regard

milestone with mixed feelings

BANGOR, Maine — Waving flags, cheering and shaking hands, the Maine Troop Greeters at Bangor International Airport hailed the 1 millionth service member to disembark at the airport shortly before 1 a.m., Monday.

The flight carrying the 1 millionth soldier to come through the Queen City was one of several originating from Fort Carson, Colo., carrying soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The soldiers at the airport Sunday morning were part of that group of “Iron Strong” warriors who are destined for the wars in the Middle East.

The Maine Troop Greeters come to the airport from all over eastern Maine, day or night, to provide warm welcomes or supportive sendoffs to those who serve the United States in all branches of the military.

Many troop greeters at the airport Sunday morning said reaching the 1 million soldier milestone was something they hoped would never happen, but they will remain at their posts supporting the country’s soldiers for as long as necessary.

“We’re the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and neighbors of these troops who can’t be here,” Tom Kohl, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Maine Troop Greeters, said while standing in the airport Sunday morning surrounded by soldiers. “We feel honored.”

The troop greeters began counting the servicemen and women who fly through BIA in 2003.

 Click on the link for the rest of this story by Nok-Noi Ricker in the Bangor Daily News.

Legislative budget panel making final adjustments | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Legislative budget panel making final adjustments | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Michaud, Pingree follow party line in health vote | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Michaud, Pingree follow party line in health vote | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Portland schools get $500K to fight obesity | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Portland schools get $500K to fight obesity | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine issues new ATV trail map | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine issues new ATV trail map | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Moose rescued after falling into Moose Pond | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Moose rescued after falling into Moose Pond | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.