Daily Archives: March 23, 2010

Keith’s rides Part 2: Um, there’s water splashing through the floorboards

[This is the second of several blog entries on the cars and other vehicles I have driven. It may or may not be of interest. Enjoy. Or not. It’s your choice. – KM]

A cousin and his wife moved into the log cabin next to my childhood home and one of the vehicles they owned was an orange Volkswagen Bug. I don’t recall the year. I just recall that the heater in the VW Bug my father owned years before wasn’t much of a heater, a necessity in the cold, dark North Woods of Maine.

Anyway, it came time for Phil to buy a new vehicle and my family bought the Bug.

My father painted it a grayish color and made repairs, including tacking up the floorboards that had corroded over the years under the onslaught of salt and sand distributed on the winter roads to make them passable.

I drove that Bug for a while, when the weather was not too cold or too wet – despite my father’s welding job, water would splash into the passenger compartment when I drove through puddles or streams.

It was a rough ride for the frost-heave-formed Maine roads, but it was mine.

Childhood friends Jeff and Todd came along with me for a ride one summer day. We loaded the Bug with snacks, fishing gear and beer – we were all 18, the drinking age in Maine at the time. Jeff or Todd brought along a battery-powered 8-track player – yes, I am old enough to have listened to music on an 8-track player – and some tapes. We rolled through the North Woods in that Bug, splashing through puddles and streams, fishing for brook trout, listening to the Steve Miller Band on 8-track, and sipping American lager.

We made it all seem a bit classier by pretending the Bug was a Porche and the player was a Jensen.

That Bug didn’t have much of a heater either. And every so often I had to crack open the hood – yep, at the rear of the car – to gap the points in order to start the car.

I don’t recall to whom my parents sold the car, but it may have gone directly to the Portage Hills Country Club to be used as a tractor. Yep, a golf course tractor.

 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

 

 

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Coffeehouse observation No. 87

I arrived at the coffeehouse earlier than normal today and am sporting a fine caffeine buzz. But the sun is shining and calling me to go outside and play. Unfortunately, I must fight the urge. I must put out a couple of resume packages today. As much as I like the coffeehouse, I really need a real job.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

Now I have proof! Cats are out to kill!

People who know me know this – don’t put a cat in my lap. Never. Ever.

And not a rat, either, but especially not a cat. In or out of a hat, it doesn’t matter.

I am allergic to ’em, you see, and simply think cats are too arrogant for their – and our – own good.

I once wrote that “catapult” had been property named. (Get it?  catapult. Cat-a-pult. CATapult. Why does no one get that joke?)

Cats have a maniacal sixth sense that allows them to know when someone is allergic to them so they rub on legs when you are standing and climb upon beer bellies and sagging chests to be assured their dander will carry to the sinuses and lungs of their intended victims.

I am reading Alan Weisman’s “The World Without Us,” an interesting, intelligent, and occasionally witty work that looks at the harm we humans have caused to this planet and what would happen if we were no longer here. I’m not sure if the science is 100 percent pure, because I’m not all that sciencey. (And, yes, I’m attempting to establish “sciencey” as a real word, so get over it.)

Weisman takes what I find a witty gab at felines:

“Wisconsin wildlife biologists Stanley Temple and John Coleman never needed to leave their home state to draw global conclusions from their field research during the early 1990s. Their subject was an open secret – a topic hushed because few will admit that about one-third of all households, nearly everywhere, harbor one or more serial killers. The villain is the purring mascot that lolled regally in Egyptian temples and does the same on our furniture, accepting our affection only when it please, exuding inscrutable calm whether awake or asleep (as it spends more than half its life), beguiling us to see to its care and feeding.”

Weisman continues that cats, despite all the comforts that man forces upon them, have maintained their hunting instincts.

“Various studies credit alley cats with up to 28 kills per year. [“… 28 kills per year …”] Farm cats, Temple and Coleman observed, get many more than that. Comparing their findings with all the available data, they estimated that in rural Wisconsin, around 2 million free-ranging cats killed at minimum 7.8 million, but probably upwards of 219 million, birds per year.

“That’s in rural Wisconsin alone.”

Weisman estimated that nationwide, feline serial killers’ victims number in the billions.

And, on top of that, cats will do just fine without humans on the planet.

“Long after we’re gone,” writes Weisman, “songbirds must deal with the progeny of those opportunists that trained us to feed and harbor them, disdaining our hapless appeals to come when we call, bestowing just enough attention so we feed them again.”

See, cats are bad, bad, bad! It’s not just me saying this. Alan Weisman said it, too!

Local doctor offers ‘pay what you can’ medical care for uninsured for one day | Lewiston Sun Journal

Local doctor offers ‘pay what you can’ medical care for uninsured for one day | Franklin | Sun Journal.

Falmouth students finalists in national ‘green’ school contest | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Falmouth students finalists in national ‘green’ school contest | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine maple syrup season short for many | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maple syrup season short for many | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Mainers wait and wonder: How will reform affect us? | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Mainers wait and wonder: How will reform affect us? | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.