Try pot in Rockland

By David Grima | Aug 30, 2018

Bad weather can be good for trade.

Take last Thursday, when we had some soggy stuff descend upon us from on high, and the Farnsworth museum received approximately 1,500 visitors in one day. This compares to a typical dry August day when, I am told, the museum might receive between 650 and 800 visitors.

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A small oak tree next to the public boat ramp in the Glorious South End has begun to drop its acorns. As if we were not already plagued enough by squirrels this summer! Now a municipal tree is beginning to feed them. The little monsters.

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The little sitting park near the ferry terminal, opposite what we all used to call The Gator, is a nice place enough to end the Harbor Trail. But the general niceness is affected by the presence of cigarette butts on the ground.

I wonder if we could make some accommodation for this habit?

A similar blight is to be observed in the environs of Rite-Aid (which is now secretly called Walgreens). Hundreds of empty nips of Fireball whiskey sold at this store have been discarded on the sacred turf of Rockland, and have been photographed over the past year by a certain budding proto-journalist with whom I am acquainted.

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Speaking of visitors, I understand that the new CMCA art gallery on Winter Street received 1,000 visitors in three hours during the Art Night open house downtown, the first Friday in July. Blues Night on Mondays at the Time Out Pub regularly sees 75 or more people in attendance each week.

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A reader argues against my suspicion, expressed last week, of the sumac trees that threaten to spoil the public view of the harbor near the railroad at the top of the embankment above Sandy Beach. She waxes almost poetic on the nutritional values of sumac, for people and (here we go again) for squirrels and assorted other wildlife.

My point, and I stick to it, is that sooner or later we will wake up to no view of the harbor at all, unless these pest trees are cut down. No amount of nutrition will replace the view.

I rest my case.

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Speaking of the South End, near the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live, a remarkable sign is attached to a building.

Yes, there is a sign that says “Try Pot” in Rockland.

The shock value of this proclamation is reduced a little when you realize it refers to the medium-sized iron cauldron that sits beneath the sign, for this is actually a try pot, in which whale blubber used to be melted down for oil, back in the old days of white whales and insane one-legged captains. It is there for all to see at Jim Sharp’s Sail, Power & Steam Museum.

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Union Fair was fun this year, as is often the case.

In particular, we bumped into a marvelous performance by The Ghost of Paul Revere, which is a band out of Portland made up of men. In the middle of it I noticed that the rising moon was an extraordinary orange shade, and the part of me that occasionally gives up the lifelong struggle against something resembling Asperger’s syndrome wanted to stop the music and make everybody look up and admire it.

Mercifully, I was accompanied by a fully functioning normal adult, which usually has a restraining influence on me. But I was truly delighted and relieved when somebody else noticed the moon, too, and told everyone to look at it.

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Speaking of whales and other floaty sea beasts, I have at last joined the ranks of people who have watched the 2013 movie “Sharknado,” a disaster flick in which the main plot is that extraordinary tornadoes have sucked up hundreds of gnashing sharks in waterspouts over the Pacific, and dumped them in the storm-flooded streets of Los Angeles, where they proceed to gnash and swallow people.

At first it appeared to be a first-rate bit of rubbish, but after a few minutes I understood what they were up to. It happened not long after a bit-part surfer is gnashed to death at the beach, and the stars (one of whom is named Fin, if you can believe it) are escaping by car in search of higher ground, when one of them mentions that a shark “has gone under the car.”

Yes, the entire movie is riddled with deliciously mangled quotes from the 1975 movie “Jaws.” There are also visual references to the 2000 movie “The Perfect Storm,” particularly the bit where a character uses a shotgun to dispatch a shark that is trying (can you guess?) to gnash people.

Once I had worked this out, I settled in for an evening of high entertainment, just counting off the number of lines they had either stolen or parodied. Yes, they also say “We’re going to need a bigger car.”

Finally, in homage to actually serious French-language movies of much greater repute, “Sharknado” ends brilliantly with the word “fin” on the screen.

I regret caving in to the urge (see bit about the moon, above) to translate this word for both my non-French-speaking readers, but it means “end.”

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Apparently there are at least four more “Sharknado” movies. The forthcoming sixth in the series focuses on a small city by the ocean in Maine, where waterspouts suck up hundreds of giant mutant gnashing lobsters and dump them in the streets, where they gnash cruise ship tourists to death and (to the horror of the locals) take up precious parking spaces.

More on this later, or possibly never.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Sep 03, 2018 16:42

David Grima, many thanks for pointing out two areas of blight in Rockland. The Chapman Park and Rite Aid/Walgreen's issue is beyond words and that store that takes in lots of money will not clean that parking lot close to Hill's Seafood. The "butts" in both parks you mention are disgusting. The Rockland Volunteer Garden Group tries to stay ahead of it and have requested those little tin collection cans. But truly, who wants to clean those? Perhaps "No Smoking" on city property could make a difference but who is to enforce it?  Current Maine law:  Maine

Similar to Kansas, Maine had existing smoking laws since as early as 1985 (and 1999). The most current statewide smoking ban expanded these previous laws and became effective on January 1, 2004. The ban prohibits smoking in all public places, workplaces, bars and restaurants. It also prohibits smoking in cars when a minor under 16 years old is present. Like almost all other statewide smoking bans it includes exempted areas. The current law neither permits nor disallows local governments from enacting their own ordinances. To date, no local government has enacted their own laws.

Unlike other states there is no common name for the law but it is found in the Maine Statutes in Title 22 Chapter 262. The Maine law is concise and easy to understand compared to some states.

Signage details are found in 22 §1543 and very simply say:

“Signs must be posted conspicuously in buildings where smoking is regulated by this chapter. Designated areas must have signs that read “Smoking Permitted” with letters at least one inch in height. Places where smoking is prohibited must have signs that read “No Smoking” with letters at least one inch in height or the international symbol for no smoking.”

Further, outdoor eating areas of restaurants need to post signage according to the same guidelines stated in section 1543.

With no local ordinances nor specific language related to creating designated areas the state law above seems to be the be all end all (at least for now) of Maine’s smoking prohibitions. Nonetheless, owners and operators would do well by verifying with local and/or state offices when posting signage.

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