Friday, December 26, 2008

See You Next Year

Will be back Monday, January 5. In the meantime, indulge in my favorite posts of 2008:
  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Happy New Year!

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Favorite Posts of 2008: December

My favorite posts of December 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Popcorn, Meet Butter" A couple thoughts on the Pike v. Idexx et al. brouhaha.
  2. "Quote, Unquote: Robert P.T. Coffin" If only we could sell cold.
  3. "Viking Press to Publish Beverly Jensen's Work" At least one wish came true this year.
  4. "On Location: Paper City Progressive Breakfast" Why can't there be an ice storm every Friday morning?
  5. "Westbrook Foodie, Final 2008 Edition" Your one-stop source for what epicureans have to say about Westbrook's eating spots.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: November

My favorite posts from November 2008, in chronological order:

  1. "The Sportswriter: Three Ideas for a Better American Soccer Fan" Fans, readers, Americans, lend me your eyes: Speak American, defend Major League Soccer, and vigorously oppose diving and playacting!
  2. "E-Mail of the Day" Blogs make the world a smaller and more interesting place.
  3. "On Blogging: Or, How This Site Got Its Moniker" Ever wonder what the hell a Westbrook Diarist is? Well, you can know now.
  4. "On Location:" Westbrook has some music talent, too.
  5. "Ambition" Brendan O'Rielly is Spartacus Zeus.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: October

My favorite posts from October 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Quote, Unquote: Marion Dana" Here's to hoping only Republicans and Congregationalists get into heaven.
  2. "Worst. Classified. Ever. " And by that, I mean greatest ad ever. And to think I was minutes away from posting about an ad trying to sell a retarded mule with a habit of humping other livestock before it was removed from the Interwebs...
  3. "Burden: Support Stroudwater Place" Laura Burden's case for Stroudwater Place.
  4. "On Location: Chuluda as Democrat" It's probably your fault if you think Westbrook's government is unresponsive.
  5. "Quote of the Day" Yeah, we Mainers are just a bunch of wet, cat-loving chuggers of Allen's who enjoy nothing more than terminating bears with the aid of Dunkin' Donuts.
  6. "On Location: The Hamlet" Deep down, I'm nothing more than proud trailer trash.
  7. "Election '08: Westbrook Voters' Guide" The most comprehensive coverage of Westbrook's candidates for the Maine House and the Maine Senate, if I do say so myself.
  8. "As Maine Kids Go, So Goes Maine" How mock elections in Maine's schools are pretty good indicators of how Maine's electorate will vote.

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Favorite Posts of 2008: September

My favorite posts from September 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Laborious" A must-listen documentary about life at Mother Warren.
  2. "Paper City Minute: Woodlawn Cemetary" Video footage of the cemetary's sublime tranquility.
  3. "Subtle Signs of Fall" Who needs a radio when you've got Earl Cutter, the authority on astounding alliteration?
  4. "Statehood in One Minute" A quick primer on one of my favorite topics.
  5. "On Location: 19 Monroe Avenue" On Sundays in autumn and how fantasy football is like the iPod.
  6. "Did You Know?" Olmsted's kind of a big deal.
  7. "Paging Lynn Truss" How you say it depends on your degree of formality.
  8. "On Location: Scouting on the Green" On Boy Scouts Troop 81's attempts at recruiting.
  9. "On Location: Brazier's Barber Shop" Tips for becoming a better Brazier Boy.
  10. "Did You Know?" Why 2 York Street is a metonym for Westbrook City Hall.

- John C.L. Morgan

New Fire Chief Hired; Firefighters Demoted And/Or Suspended

According to the American Journal, the City of Westbrook has hired former Kennebunkport Fire Chief Daniel Brock to be the next chief of Westbrook's fire department (pending approval from the City Council) and demoted and/or suspended seven firefighters involved in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed againt the City:
In the shakeup, Donald Trafford was demoted from lieutenant to firefighter and
suspended for one week. Firefighter Matt Lamontagne was suspended for 60 days.
Deputy Chief Thaddeus Soltys and per diem firefighters Jim Harbaugh, Meagan
Breau and Ron Giroux were suspended for two weeks, and Capt. Peter Mullin
received a letter of reprimand. City Administrator Jerre Bryant said all the
suspensions are without pay.
- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: August

My favorite posts from August 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Paper City Minute: Saccarappa Falls" Video footage of a familiar sight and sound.
  2. "No Bar For You" You might've noticed that I'm a little annoyed the bar on Brown Street was shut down.
  3. "Quote of the Day" Pat Gallant-Charette makes me wonder why anyone would want to swim the English Channel.
  4. "On Location: Wells, Maine" A (nearly) car-less trip to the beach.
  5. "Tranchemontagne's Eats" Who knew the Main Street Cafe shared such esteemed company?
  6. "On Location: Movies in the Park" A brief review of the Rudy Vallee picture The Palm Beach Story (1942), which was screened under the stars in Riverbank Park.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Foodie, Final 2008 Edition

According to the PPH food writer, Meredith Goad, Westbrook is now a destination spot for growling stomachs. So here's a collection of all the reviews I could dig up related to Westbrook food after mining this site and the excellent Portland Food Map:

Baker's Bench: here.

Bistro 21: here.

Burrito: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Casa Novello: here and here.

Don's Lunch: here.

Fajita Grill: here and here.

Lady Ball's Victorian Boutique and Tea Room: here.

Medeo: here, here and here.

Misc.: here and here

Siam Square: here.

Thanksgiving's Bakery and Eatery: here and here.

The Frog and Turtle: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Wake N' Bakery: here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: July

My favorite posts from July 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "In 'Da Hood" Yeah, I'm a tough guy.
  2. "Should Westbrook Jump Into the NECBL?" Well, should we?
  3. "Department of Navel-Gazing: Or, Why You Should Subscribe To Your Local Newspaper" Hypocrite alert: I let my subscription to the AJ lapse for the last couple months of 2008, but am in the process of getting it back.
  4. "On Location: Metro No. 4" How the Oscar-winning film Crash explains Metro's No. 4 bus.
  5. "Quote, Unquote: Charmaine Daniels" Despite calling Westbrook old and dirty, this Casco Bay Weekly (RIP) columnist actually compliments the Paper City. Even before we stopped stinkin'.
  6. "Edgers v. Mr. Bagelers" How "West Side Story" explains River's Edge Deli's recent move to Main Street.
  7. "Next Week: A Tour of Leander Valentine's Grave!" One of the more, um, interesting marketing strategies I've seen.
  8. "The Posts of Lists, Take Two" Why my wife is stupid, illiterate, lame, weak, soft, and fearful.
  9. "Bite-Sized Review: American Silk" A quick review of a book every self-respecting Brookie should partially read.
  10. "Song of the Week: Over a Cardboard Sea" A song from one of my favorite local bands. Bonus: A link to an eclectic YouTube page that features good footage of some of this year's Westbrook Together Days.
  11. "On Location: Bean-Hole Baked Bean Supper" Does it get any better than this?
  12. "Did You Know?" I'm still waiting out for the high school's new nickname to be changed to the Moonshiners, regardless of how ahistorical such a move would be. I suppose I ought to move to Scarborough, where they actually vote on such a thing.
  13. "The Sportswriters: Boston Red Sox" My favorite Sox bloggers coin nicknames that should be known far and wide.
  14. "Quote, Unquote: Paul Mann" Couldn't say it better myself.
  15. "Quote of the Day" James Ingraham (WHS Class of '42) gets philosophical.

- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Favorite Posts of 2008: June

Here are my favorite posts from June 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "On Location: Presumpscot River" A morning of eating at Guidi's and fishing on the Presumpscot.
  2. "Quote, Unquote: E.B. White" The ever-quotable E.B. White on television.
  3. "Yeah, We Have the Largest Shagbark Hickory (Sort Of)" Westbrook's real claim to fame.
  4. "On Location: Westbrook's Northside Italians" The things I do for my dear readers.
  5. "Better Know a Rep: Bruce Chuluda" Find out why BruChu tries to avoid looking at himself.
  6. "Paper City Public Art: Gerald C. Fluett Portrait" A review of Thomas Nadeau's portrait of Gerald C. Fluett.
  7. "Party Like It's 1980" Five ideas to improve Westbrook Together Days (WTD), with help from the inaugural WTD in 1980.
  8. "On Location: Westbrook Historical Society" How the Westbrook Historical Society keeps us from becoming a city of madmen (and women).
  9. "Start Snitching" I maintain the belief that the WPD's "Be a Snitch Memo" is the single-greatest piece of literature I've ever had wedged between my doors.
  10. "Overheard" Read what happens when an English teacher and a businessman discuss Robert Frost.
  11. "The Sportswriter: Draft Grades" Why grading professional drafts only minutes after they've transpired is one of the stupidest trends in journalism.
  12. "Not Your Father's Mill Side Tavern" Fresh Strawberry Daiquiris + Mill Side Tavern = Head Scratching.

- John C.L. Morgan

Man of the Hour Snatches Westbrook Building

Buried in the PPH's profile of Stephen Goodrich--CEO of PowerPay and aspiring redeveloper of the former Portland Public Market and Biddeford's Riverdam Mill--is this nugget: "Goodrich recently bought a small commercial building in Westbrook at a foreclosure sale. A good location, he said."

Does this mean Goodrich plans to bring some paperless jobs to the Paper City, or is he just looking to flip the property once the economic outlook brightens?

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook and Homelessness

About three weeks after "Bustlin' Bill" Baker took to the airwaves to highlight Westbrook's growing homeless population, the American Journal's Leslie Bridgers has a piece on the City's latest response to trying to quell the problem:

Westbrook’s general assistance program and three Portland shelters now have
a temporary agreement in place, which they hope to finalize by the end of
the year, to house Westbrook residents without homes for a fee of $20 per bed
pernight. The city pays the fee.


The protocol for the city had been to put people up in hotels if they found
themselves suddenly homeless, which City Administrator Jerre Bryant said was
costly. He also said hotels lack support services, such as food and health care,
that shelters can provide.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: May

My favorite posts from May 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "On Location: Lady Ball's Victorian Boutique and Tea Room" I venture into the place known by most for its snicker-inducing name.
  2. "The Apple Whisperer and Other Atlantic Stories" In case you're looking to snuggle up with a good, ahem, computer monitor in front of the fireplace.
  3. "Photogenic" I'm a sucker for James O'Reilly's photos of Westbrook. Besides, I need to pay him back for featuring the fam on his website.
  4. "Better Know a Rep: Brendan Rielly" Read about how Charlie Weis will ensure City Councilor Rielly will never be perfectly happy.
  5. "Quote, Unquote: E.B. White" With thoughts like these, E.B. White might actually pass for a real Mainer.
  6. "Buckfield Bass" Avert thy eyes, PETA.
  7. "In Memoriam" The finest moments of this year's Memorial Day parade and ceremony
  8. "Just Do It: Buy Maine" Still true.
  9. "Proposed Addition to the Westbrook Dictionary" Fortunately, it's been awhile since my last Westbrook Wake-Up.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thousandth Post

Here's to 1,000 posts.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: April

My favorite posts from April 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "On Location: Stroudwater Place Workshop" An account of one of the first--if not the first-- public hearings devoted to the project.
  2. "Good Salary. Little Work. Soft Snap!" Why don't classified ads carry this jobs with this labor description anymore?
  3. "Jumpers, 1919" One of my favorite all-time photographs. An explanation here.
  4. "Westbrook's Ghosthunters" Like I've said, you never know what you'll find at the Westbrook Historical Society.
  5. "Ironic Sign of the Day" St. Mary's Church, post-demolition.
  6. "Overheard at Riverbank" Stay classy, Paper City.
  7. "Piano Legs" Westbrook's prowess in baseball goes well beyond the 2005 Little League World Series team (explanation here).
  8. "On Location: Riverbank Park" Seven ways to improve Westbrook's civic capital.
  9. "Why You Should Become a Scarborough Downer" The case for frequenting Scarborough Downs.
  10. "Better Know a Rep: Drew Gattine" Read about City Councilor Gattine's supposedly hairy back.
  11. "On Location: Don's Lunch" The last refuge of a blue-collar burger.
  12. "Quote, Unquote: W.H.S. Ellingwood" A school superintendent, before the age of political correctness.

- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, December 22, 2008

Favorite Posts of 2008: March

My favorite posts from March 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Rewind: About Schmidt" A partial film review of About Schmidt, one of my favorite movies.
  2. "Sunday Letter: Lighthouse Christian Center" I've sat in a fair number of pews in my lifetime, but I've never experienced the culture shock I experienced at LCC.
  3. "Name-Hunting Tip #5" Elisha Morgan on the most underestimated factor Mainers must consider when brainstorming for baby names.
  4. "On Location: Main Street" Your (dated) travel guide to Westbrook's Main Street.
  5. "Is Skybox a Victim of Brown Street Bias" The answer, by the way, is yes.
  6. "On Location: Room 114" Or, how the City Council's chambers are like Fenway Park. Really.
  7. "Just Do It: Read Maine Becomes a State" Seriously, just do it.
  8. "(Deep) Thoughts on the Skybox Closure" Why am I so annoyed by the closing of a bar I'd been to only once? Well, here's why.
  9. "Yeah, I'm Pretty Much an Uppity 24-Year-Old" My response to getting bitchslapped in the PPH Letters to the Editor section.
  10. "(Far-Fetched) Thought of the Day" In light of the Maine Turnpike Authority's funding problems, maybe this could be spun off to make some money.
  11. "The Sportswriter: New England Revolution" Lamenting the Revolution's absence in Boston-as-Titletown talk.
  12. "Westbrook's Light-Blue Collar" We're still used as Cape Elizabeth's socioeconomic foil.

- John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: February

My favorite posts from February 2008, in chronological order:

  1. "Westbrook Republican Caucus: The Bold-Faced Edition" A minute-by-minute account of the Westbrook Republican presidential caucus won by Gov. Mitt Romney.
  2. "Cock-Eyed, Take Two" Another scathing attack on the presidential caucus system, this time with facts.
  3. "On Second Thought..." One reason why the caucus system isn't all that bad.
  4. "On Location: 41 Wharf Street" Very pregnant wife + Rogues Gallery store-opening party - Ice = Good times.
  5. "Did You Know?" How Westbrook's mayor Leander Valentine's life reflects Westbrook's geographical history.
  6. "Heil, Nissen!" You never know what you'll dig up at the Westbrook Historical Society. An explanation for the ad, by the way, can be found here.
  7. "The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations" Enter snarky comment here.
  8. "When Barrels of Rum Were on Sidewalks and Water Was Free" Ah, those were the days. Anyway, this post literally reminds me that the second annual Neal Dow Pub Crawl (or should it be renamed the Paper City Pub Crawl?) is scheduled for Friday, January 16, 2009. Good to know since, you know, I'll be organizing the event.
  9. "Going Postal" A look at how much State Sen. Phil "Jug Ears" Bartlett and his fellow legislators like to send you mail.
  10. "Westbrook Democratic Caucus: The Bold-Faced Edition" A minute-by-minute account of the Westbrook Democratic caucus won by Sen. Barack Obama.
  11. "I Heard White Wine Goes Great with Crow" One final word on the caucus system--I swear.
  12. "Happy 194th Birthday, Westbrook!" A look at why Valentine's Day is not the most significant occurrence of February 14.
  13. "The Sportswriter: The Boston Celtics" An appreciation of the Boston Celtics' most underappreciated addition.
  14. "On Location: USM's Vagina Monologues" Pretty much speaks for itself.
  15. "Did You Know?" A primer on Maine's liquid love affair with Allen's Coffee-Flavored Brandy.
  16. "On Maine Ice" It doesn't get any better than a Robert P.T. Coffin reference and a short history of the Maine ice industry.

John C.L. Morgan

Favorite Posts of 2008: January

My favorite posts from January 2008, in chronological order:
  1. "Cock-Eyed" The initial critique of the caucus system in presidential primaries.
  2. "On Location: Westbrook City Inauguration" A recap of the 2008 Inauguration.
  3. "Abortion in Maine, Part Two" An examination of whether abortion will actually become illegal in Maine, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
  4. "On Location: Colonial Bowling Center" A snowy January morning at a Paper City institution.
  5. "Quote, Unquote: Charles A. Carleton" The chairman of the 1894 Westbrook School Committee has an, um, interesting take on classroom management.
  6. "Westbrook's Portrait Laureate" An introduction to the paintings of Caren-Marie Michel, the portraitist of the Paper City.
  7. "Neal Dow Pub Crawl: A Review" A behind-the-scenes look at the first annual pub crawl in Westbrook, named after the famous Maine teetotaler.
  8. "Richardson Plays Pretend" A look at the Windy Indy column by convservative columnist Ray Richardson about a certain woman being picked as Sen. John McCain's running mate--no, not the "Chiller from Wasilla." (h/t: Christopher Hitchens)
  9. "We Don't Stink No More!" A review of the City of Westbrook's promotional video.
  10. "The Artsy-Fartsy Downeaster" A very brief review of the Downeaster's YouTube page.
  11. "On Location: Riverbank Park at Night" An ode to Riverbank Park on a wintry night, capped off with an ungraceful rant.
  12. "Westbrook Taxes" A breakdown of how your tax money is spent by 2 York Street.

- John C.L. Morgan

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend (Sports) Update

Westbrook's wrasslers were outgrappled by Bonny Eagle Wednesday evening, 55-20.

The undefeated boys' basketball team braved the elements Friday night and beat previously unbeaten Deering, 71-69 in Portland.

The girls' b-ball team fell to Gorham Friday night, 49-31, at Warren Centennial.

Westbrook's skaters routed Massabesic Saturday, 10-1, in a hockey game at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

- John C.L. Morgan

Westbrook Almanac: December 14- December 20, 2008

High: 57F (December 15)
Low: 7F (December 19)
Precipitation: 0.11 inches
Snowfall: 9.4 inches
Previous Sunrise: 7:12a
Previous Sunset: 4:07p

High: 58F (December 10)
Low: 7F (December 15)
Precipitation: 3.16 inches
Snowfall: 11.7 inches

High: 88F (September 4)
Low: -5F (January 4)
Precipitation: 59.78 inches

Source: National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Augustan

Below are the Westbrook legislative delegation's committee assignments:

Rep. Tim Driscoll (D-Westbrook)
Joint Standing Committee on Labor

Rep. Ann Peoples (D-Westbrook)Font size
Joint Standing Committee on Transportation

Sen. Phil Bartlett (D-Cumberland County)
Joint Select Committee on Joint Rules

Sen. Joseph Brannigan (D-Cumberland County)
Chairman, Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services
Government Oversight Committee

A complete list of the respective committee assignments can be found here, and a description of the jurisdictions of each committee can be found here.

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Electoral College in Action--Thrilling, Pulsating Action

For as powerful as the Electoral College is in our Constitution (it only, you know, determines the election of America's president), the mechanics of it are relatively unknown.

It'll be less foreign to you, however, if you listen to A.J. Higgins's (MPBN) forty-minute recording of Maine's electors in action on Monday, in all its underwhelming splendor.

- John C.L. Morgan

Spoiler alert: All four electors--Jill Duson, Robert O'Brien, Tracie Reed, and Sam Shapiro--voted for...wait for it...President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden.

(Hat tip: Maine Politics)

Headline of the Day

Boston Globe: "State Police in Maine scrambling to solve case of the missing eggs"

Who knew stealing a truckful of eggs could be so lucrative?

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Westbrook's Ballers Beat Gorham

The AJ's Tom Minervino has a good account of the Westbrook boys' basketball team's 58-37 victory over the Gorham Rams at Warren Centennial last night.

- John C.L. Morgan

Warren Memorial Library to Alter Hours in 2009

Because of a constrained budget, the Warren Memorial Library (WML) has decided to shutter its doors on Tuesdays beginning January 2, 2009 and has reconfigured its hours on other days.

Besides closing on Tuesdays (a day on which the library is now open from 2p-8p), the WML has shortened the Wednesday work day in 2009 from 10a-8p to 1p to 8p.

On the other hand, the hours on Monday and Friday have been expanded. Monday's hours, for example, have been expanded from 2p-8p to 1p-8p. And Friday's hours will change from 2p-6p to 10a-6p.

Saturday's hours (10a-2p) will remain unchanged.

Such schedule posturing at the WML comes on the heels of the announcement earlier this month that the library is parting company with the Reindeer Theatre Company in an effort to find a permanent, more profitable renter of its second-story auditorium.

- John C.L. Morgan

Quote, Unquote

"I was just so excited 'cause he smelt like a campfire, he smelt so good."

- Peggy Crowley, wife of Survivor winner Bob Crowley, when she visited him during the twelfth episode of the season.

- John C.L. Morgan

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 v. 2004

Tony Bessey over at Ordinary Maine has photos of the 2008 and 2004 editions of Westbrook's official Christmas Tree in Riverbank Park.

It's nice to see something has gotten more svelte since 2004. Well, except maybe our wallets.

- John C.L. Morgan

On Location: Paper City Progressive Breakfast

Looking back on my experience walking through the wet, icy streets of Westbrook's culinary corridor last Friday morning for what I've dubbed the Paper City Progressive Breakfast (Thomas Friedman's got nothing on me when it comes to coining catchy phrases), I am now thankful for what I was not doing.

I mean, it wasn't exactly enjoyable getting waterlogged while slushing from one Main Street breakfast spot to another under the shower of water above and atop the sheet of ice below. But at least I wasn't soaking to my bones while shoveling water out of my flooding basement.

Nor was I thrilled with the fact that my lack of preparation and forethought forced me to inhale deeply and accept the $2.00 surcharge the Bank of America charges non-customers at its ATM. But at least my haphazard nature wasn't indulged by a last-minute (and ultimately unsuccessful) run to the hardware store for that precious last generator.

In other words, I'm ashamed to say that while others strained in the cold, wet environs of their powerless homes, I was gorging on the breakfast offerings of River's Edge Deli, Guidi's Diner, Freaky Bean, and Mister Bagel.

River's Edge Deli
When I stomped my slush-covered boots on River's Edge Deli's wooden deck, the clock read 6:31a and the sky was charcoal. My walk down Rochester and along Main Street had been marked with strewn tree branches glittering with ice and an occasional pop in the distance signaling yet another wooden casualty. Inside, though, the air was toasty and the exterior chorus of snapping limbs and rumbling plow trucks had been replaced with the low muttering of the River's Edgers gathered in the deli's cramped dining area. The regulars chewed on familiar topics, but the primary topic of conversation--as it was everywhere else that morning--was the ice storm and everyone's status of power (each new entrant into the deli inevitably heralded the latest news, including one exasperated report that it was "darker than a pocket" in Portland). After munching on a plain cruller River's Edge imports from Tony's Donuts, sipping my coffee, and flipping through that morning's edition of the Press Herald, I left and began trekking to Guidi's Diner.

Guidi's Diner
Guidi's was full but, as some breakfast spots can be for the irregulars, solitary. So, between bellying up to the counter and waiting for my Hamlett and grilled blueberry muffin, I decided to psychoanalyze the diner's menu, if such a thing is even possible.

Anyway, here's what I decided: The Main Street is the only special that includes an endless cup of coffee because its namesake supplies an endless run of America's other lifeblood, the automobile. And the French Town's inclusion of French toast is a gimme, but its inclusion of Mafia French toast is even more telling, especially when you consider the Brown Street area is Westbrook's, um, most notorious neighborhood. On the other hand, the Duck Pond features fruit-topped waffles (or is it pancakes?) because Westbrook's cultured folk evidently live in the city's hinterlands (if memory serves me correctly, "Bustlin'" Bill Baker's March remarks about how Martinis explain some of the disconnect in Westbrook were aimed at some of the exurban portions of Westbrook). And, finally, the 6-ounce sirloin steak's prominent placement in The Stroudwater refers to the Randalls' beef farm and the rural nature of that neighborhood.

For the life of me, though, I've yet to decide what breakfast fare will be included under The Stroudwater banner once Stroudwater Place is built.

Freaky Bean
It was about 7:45a by the time I arrived in the relatively swanky confines of Freaky Bean. Cheery Christmas jingles danced in the air, the topic of banter was--of course--the status of everyone's power, and, if you listened closely, you could hear the threads of my pants button slowly splinter. I had one more destination on the to-do list, so there was no way anything but a hot apple cider would be consumed at the coffee shop. But, since I believe Freaky Bean is the only place along the Culinary Corridor where a fresh copy of the New York Times can be found, I hung out a for a little bit and people-watched (or more accurately, commuter-watched) those puttering along Main Street.

Mr. Bagel
You've certainly heard of a sports bar, but have you heard of a sports breakfast cafe? Well, if you haven't, you have now. A jumbo flat-screen television tuned to ESPN's Sports Center was perched before the store's front windows (so much for commuter-watching) and the din around the half-full dining room consisted of more talk about fantasy football than regret about those fantasy generators. Too bad the Celtics don't have any 7a games on the schedule.

As for the last leg of this epicurious adventure, well, let's just say I felt a lot like Chet Ripley (John Candy) when he tries to polish off gristle and fat from the "Ole 96er" in The Great Outdoors. Except, unlike Ripley, I still had a wet, icy waddle ahead of me.

- John C.L. Morgan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Viking Press to Publish Beverly Jensen's Work

According to Beverly Jensen's widower, Jay Silverman, The Viking Press will publish a collection of Jensen's literary works in 2010.

Jensen, a 1971 graduate of Westbrook High School, has had three of her short stories published posthumously (she passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2003) in the New England Review, including "Wake," a story that was reprinted in the 2007 edition of The Best American Short Stories.

Also according to Silverman, Jensen will be the subject of a piece in the forthcoming issue of Poets & Writers.

- John C.L. Morgan

Weekend Sports Round-Up

The Blue Blazes ice hockey team crossed the Piscataqua Saturday afternoon and beat Marshwood-Traip, 5-2. Their record is 2-0 and their next home game is against Gorham (2-0)on Thursday, December 18 at 3p. The game will be played at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

The Westbrook wrestling team finished second (out of 9 teams) in the 33rd annual Tiger Invitational Wrestling Tournament in Gardiner. Rassler Harrison Strondak won the 152-pound class and was named the tournament's most outstanding competitor.

Westbrook soccer's Galen Perkins was named to the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram's All-State Boys' Soccer team. Perkins, the Blue Blazes' starting goalkeeper since he was a freshman, will play at Stanford University next autumn.

(Update: The American Journal's Tom Minervino has seeded the Westbrook boys' basketball team fourth in the second installment of his SMAA Basketball Power Rankings.)

- John C.L. Morgan

Full disclosure: I'm an assistant in Westbrook High School's boys' soccer program.

Westbrook Politics: December 15-December 19, 2008

Monday, December 15
Accounts and Claims meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

Committee of the Whole meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

City Council meeting
Westbrook High School, Room 114

- John C.L. Morgan

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Westbrook Almanac: December 7- December 13, 2008

High: 58F (December 10)
Low: 8F (December 8, December 9)
Precipitation: 2.78 inches
Snowfall: 2.3 inches
Previous Sunrise: 7:08a
Previous Sunset: 4:05p

High: 58F (December 10)
Low: 8F (December 8, December 9)
Precipitation: 3.05 inches
Snowfall: 2.3 inches

High: 88F (September 4)
Low: -5F (January 4)
Precipitation: 59.67 inches

Source: National Weather Service

- John C.L. Morgan

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

"It is the worst we've seen since the ice storm of 1998."

- Central Maine Power (CMP) spokeswoman Gail Rice in a story about the 197,000 CMP customers who've lost power as a result of the ice storm.

(Update: We lost power over here on Rochester for about an hour from 5:45-6:45p. If you know someone not as fortunate--or if you're somehow reading this sans electric juice--then remember food, water, and cots are available at Westbrook High School.)

Three Ways to Combat a Budget Crunch, Continued

Westbrook Schools Superintendent Stan Sawyer thinks the answers to the $414,000 question include administrators serving as subs, dialing back thermometers, and a possible freeze or reduction of teachers' salaries. On the other hand, the blogger known as Thomas Cushing Munjoy thinks such prescriptions are inadequate and thinks a Greater Portland Summit attended by the movers and shakers of the greater Portland school districts is needed to solve the budgetary conundrum.

Well, now you can throw in your two-cents (or $414,000) by completing the Westbrook School Department's six-question survey dealing with how to save money on operations (suggestions regarding personnel, according to the survey's directions, are not being sought).

- John C.L. Morgan

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Mysterious" Billy Smith (1871-1937)

Pine-Knotted Pugilist

PPH sports scribe Steve Solloway has written a column on "Mysterious" Billy Smith, the first Mainer (Tim Sample's famous criterion for such a distinction notwithstanding) to win a world boxing championship. Solloway's piece is timed to coincide with Smith's recent induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he mostly focuses on Smith's filthy fighting and colorful lifestyle. To wit:
Mysterious Billy moved to Portland, Ore. He opened a bar and named it The
Champion's Rest. It wasn't the best place to drink too many beers or the wrong
beer. Men who passed out, a story goes, woke up on tramp steamers sailing to the
Far East with a new job as deck hand.

Count me among those who think that's a good, playful tradition to start in our Portland's Old Port.

- John C.L. Morgan

Blazes Clip Hawks

The Westbrook boys' basketball team defeated Marshwood last night, 60-47. The Blue Blazes improve to 2-0, while the Hawks drop to 0-2.

The game was at Westbrook's Warren Centennial Gymnasium. And the Blazes' next home game is Tuesday, December 16 at 7p against the Gorham Rams.

- John C.L. Morgan

2008-2009 WHS Wrestling

Westbrook grapplers Andrew Drouin and Harrison Strondak are on the PPH's list of "Wrestlers to Watch."

- John C.L. Morgan

Engineering Support

Count the engineering firm Sebago Technics among the batch of those in favor of President-elect Barack Obama's plans for large-scale investment in America's infrastructure as a means for jump-starting the economy. Tux Turkel:
Companies that help design transportation projects also are watching closely to
see whether they can team up with contractors to speed up new work. Stephen
Sawyer, vice president of transportation at Sebago Technics in Westbrook, said
his firm hasn't designed a new road project in years, relying mostly on
commercial real estate work during the building boom. Now that's drying up, so
public sector road work looks promising. "The design community is hopeful there
will be opportunity for us," Sawyer said.

- John C.L. Morgan

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know 62% of the University of Maine System's full- and part-time student population was made up of females in 2004?

According to a March 2006 Down East article, 21,480 of the full- and part-time students enrolled in the UMS system in 2004 were female, while only 12,773 were male. In contrast, the 1972 enrollment numbers included 13,024 males and 10,794 females.

Or, put another way, there was a 2% decline among males in the UMS system from 1972-2004, but a 50% increase among female students during the same time period.

- John C.L. Morgan

Paper City Rasslers Batter Rams

The Westbrook High wrestling team defeated Kennebunk at home yesterday evening, 54-15.

Victors for the Blue Blazes included Cody Payer, Glenn Emery, Marcus Dickson, Arsenault, Cole Larrivee, Zach Huggard, Harrison Strondak, Terry Webber, Steve Sawyer, and Andrew Drouin.

(Update: In other rassling-related banter, the Blue Blazes finished fifth in their namesake tournament last weekend. Ten other teams participated in the pre-season event.)

- John C.L. Morgan

Aqua Guys and Gals

Glenn Jordan of the PPH profiles Kyle Goan, a Westbrook High swimmer who overcame bouts of mononucleosis and food poisoning last year to become the state champion in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard breast stroke.

(Update: I should add that Goan and Derek Hawkes, a junior for the Blue Blazes, are on the Press Herald's list of "Swimmers to Watch." Moreover, the AJ reports the boys' swim team will be "extremely competitive" and that the "girls have a great team.")

- John C.L. Morgan