Giant ice disc rotating in the Presumpscot River in Maine

❝ A disk of ice roughly 100 yards across that formed on the Presumpscot River and was slowly rotating and gaining size Monday had Westbrook buzzing almost as much as when city police spotted a giant snake eating a beaver in roughly the same location in June 2016.

Nothing ever came of those mysterious snake sightings – the reptile was dubbed “Wessie” by locals – but the sight of an alien-looking circle of ice stuck in the river had some people wondering about that section of the river’s knack for producing weird events.

And little ice discs in the Housatonic River in Connecticut

❝ Cliff Bates was hiking the Appalachian Trail in Northwest Connecticut with his dog in 9-degree weather Jan. 1 when he saw slowly-rotating discs of ice on the Housatonic River that resembled UFO saucers…

“It was just down there in the gorge…it was this kind of weird triangle and the ice chunks slowly circled inside that but never really left it,” Bates said…

❝ The discs are found in the cold climates of North America and Europe, Ryan Hanrahan, chief meteorologist for NBC Connecticut, said the past two weeks are the longest stretch on record of consecutive subfreezing temperatures. Given the extreme cold, he said it’s not a surprise to see things like the ice discs across the state.

Along with being rare, they are a more recently-documented phenomenon. Gil Simmons, chief meteorologist for WTNH said research has been ongoing for only 100 years, trying to understand the occurrence…

Read both articles – especially the second – which seems to explain how and why the discs rotate. At least in a laboratory. 🙂

Preservatives won’t harm you — just look at this 40-year-old Twinkie!

In a glass box in a private school in Maine sits a 40-year-old chemistry experiment still going strong: A decades-old Twinkie.

The experiment started in 1976 when Roger Bennatti was teaching a lesson to his high school chemistry class on food additives and shelf life.

After a student wondered about the shelf life of the snack, Bennatti sent the students to the store with some money. When they returned with the treat, Bennatti ate one and placed the still-surviving Twinkie on the blackboard.

Bennatti has since retired, but the snack now resides in the office of George Stevens Academy’s Dean of Students Libby Rosemeier.

Rosemeier told ABC News she isn’t sure who will inherit the Twinkie when she retires, but joked that the Smithsonian hasn’t called yet.

Eeoouugh.

Down East Darwin Award candidate

CALAIS, Maine — A local man was killed instantly Saturday when he placed a fireworks mortar tube on his head and set it off…

Devon Staples, 22, of Calais was with friends in a friend’s back yard on South Street when the accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. The explosion caused a fatal head injury and Staples died instantly, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Staples had been drinking with his friends when the accident occurred

The fatality was the first reported since fireworks became legal in Maine in March 2012…

Ayup.

Dumb crook of the day

A Maine man who’d been wanted by police for several weeks made a couple of critical mistakes that led to his capture – he sent out social media messages pinpointing his location.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for Christopher Wallace, of Fairfield, in connection with a burglary in January.

Police tell the Morning Sentinel that on Sunday night they received tips from people who said Wallace had posted on Snapchat that he had returned to his Fairfield home.

So, police went to the house.

While they were searching with permission of the resident, they were tipped off that Wallace had posted a new Snapchat message saying police were in the house looking for him and he was hiding in a cabinet.

He was found in the cabinet.

There is dumb. Then there is compulsively dumb.

Fail selfie of the week!

Selfie with squirrel

A photo op with a squirrel that went awry has left a teenager flustered but unhurt.

Seventeen-year-old Brian Genest, of Auburn, said Thursday he saw what appeared to be a friendly squirrel on a hand rail while walking through John Chestnut Park near Tampa, Florida. He was on a trip looking at colleges.

Genest took a selfie of himself and the squirrel. But the flash and noises from his camera phone scared the squirrel, which climbed under his shirt and hung onto his back before scampering back out…

Genest’s mother, Paula Wright, snapped photos of the hoopla, originally posted to his Instagram feed along with his selfie.

Mom was laughing so hard she could hardly take the picture – much less help rid him of the squirrel. 🙂

Dumb Crook of the Day

A Maine man who was trying to avoid being charged with marijuana possession may now be wishing he simply pleaded to police that the pot was his.

When Douglas Glidden was stopped by police in Livermore Falls because an officer recognized him and knew his license was suspended, he “told them the marijuana found in the car was not his because he had stolen the car.”

While Glidden was being taken to the Androscoggin County Jail for booking, police said the car’s owner called and reported that it had been stolen from his driveway.

The 25-year-old was charged with felony operating under the influence, and felony counts of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and violating condition of release.

Har.

Former President George H.W. Bush serves as witness at same-sex wedding

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, were the official witnesses of a same-sex marriage between two women in Maine over the weekend…

The former first couple witnessed the private ceremony on Saturday in Kennebunk between Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen, according to Jim McGrath, a Bush spokesman.

Clement posted a photograph on her Facebook page of President Bush signing a piece of paper as the couple, close friends of the Bushes, watched and held champagne glasses…

Maine is one of 13 states that allows gay marriage.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred same-sex couples from federal marriage benefits. But the high court declined to rule on whether gay men and lesbians have a fundamental right to marry, leaving it to states to decide.

The ruling has led to legal challenges in federal and state courts to laws that restrict the rights of gays and lesbians.

Several other notable Republicans have voiced support for gay marriage, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

But same-sex marriage is opposed by most Republicans. A Gallup poll in July found 66 percent of Republicans were against making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

Good for you, George. You ain’t running for re-election, anyway. It’s clear the political party you used to lead is headed downhill as fast as it’s headed backwards.

Landlord kills tenants over important stuff – like shoveling snow!


Derrick Thompson and Alivia Welch

A 74-year-old US landlord has shot dead two teenage tenants after an argument about snow-shovelling, police say.

James Pak walked into the couple’s flat attached to his house in Maine, and said he was going to shoot them before carrying out his threat, police said.

He has been charged with murdering 19-year-old Derrick Thompson, and his girlfriend, Alivia Welch, 18.

Mr Thompson’s mother, Susan Johnson, survived Saturday’s shootings by playing dead after she was shot.

The 44-year-old, who shared the Biddeford flat with the two victims and her six-year-old son, said she had hidden behind a Christmas tree.

Police had been called to the home after Mr Thompson reported Mr Pak was threatening him and banging on windows, but they left when the teenager told them he did not fear his landlord.

Moments later, they received a call from Ms Johnson telling them of the shootings.

They had reportedly been arguing over late rent, shovelling snow and parking cars in the drive, police said.

If the only tool you own is a hammer, all questions look like nails.

If the only tool you care to own to resolve arguments is a gun, everyone else begins to look like victims.

Hobbit Holes bring Tolkien architecture to your garden – or to your meadow

The Hobbit is a story that has endured for more than seven decades, with children and adults alike drawn into the fantasy realm created by J.R.R Tolkien. Thanks to Peter Jackson, who previously brought The Lord Of The Rings to the big screen, a whole new generation of fans is likely to be created. Reading the book and watching the movies is one thing, but having your own real-life Hobbit Hole in the back garden is quite another … one that’s now possible thanks to Wooden Wonders.

Wooden Wonders is a small family-run business located in the state of Maine. It designs and produces Hobbit Holes to suit a variety of needs. There are currently five product lines – playhouses, chicken coops, sheds, cottages, and saunas – but all follow the basic design of the houses Hobbits live in, according to Tolkien…

Wooden Wonders will customize the design according to individual tastes, with different colors and/or materials, and extra features and functions available. Each model, no matter what its intended use, features a curved roof and round front door. While most of Wooden Wonders’ Hobbit Holes are built above ground, they have built them underground as in Tolkien’s vision of a race of little people residing under the earth. As with the specific design choice, it’s up to the buyer whether they want to build above or below ground.

While the Hobbit Holes that Wooden Wonders currently sells are fairly small, Melissa Pillsbury, who runs the company alongside her husband Rocy, suggests that scaling up wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, they would “jump at the chance to build a replica Bag End for someone.” Not that a Hobbit Holes home would have to be huge to accommodate a family, with Melissa also noting that the design “lends itself very well to small square foot living” … which fits in to the current trend for tiny living quarters we have seen with increasing regularity…

Prices start at $995 and, yes, you can design and build your own. The only curved portions of the structure are the beams-cum-rafters that rise along the interior from ground-level. These often can be purchased in a range of arc from companies selling pre-fab quonset huts.

Maryland, Maine, Washington approve gay marriage


Tammy Baldwin elected as 1st openly gay senator

Voters in Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage on Tuesday, marking the first time marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.

The vote was hailed as a watershed moment by gay rights activists. While same-sex unions have been legalized in six states and the District of Columbia by lawmakers or courts, voters had consistently rejected doing so. Voters in more than 30 states have approved constitutional bans on gay marriage.

We made history and sent a powerful message that we have truly reached a tipping point on gay and lesbian civil rights in this country,” said Brian Ellner, head of the pro-gay marriage group The Four. “By winning for the first time on marriage at the ballot box, we made clear what national polls already show — that Americans support fairness and equality for all families.”

President Barack Obama this year became the first U.S. president to support gay marriage. His campaign endorsed the gay marriage measures in the three states…

Voters in Minnesota rejected a proposal that would have defined marriage solely as a heterosexual union. The constitutional amendment failed 48 percent to 52 percent…

The constitutionality of restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman is widely expected to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court soon.

That’s when we get to see if the Conservative’s Supreme Court remembers anything about civil rights applying to all Americans?