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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Wednesday, 11 August 2021 11:04

Celebrity Slam - Wishy-washy

Celebrities: They’re just like us.

You’ve probably heard that before, yes? This notion that famous people are still just regular people, only with lives filled with adulation/infamy and (probably) money? It’s an attractive thought, this idea that living a life in the spotlight doesn’t mean that, deep down, that person’s any different than us.

Hot nonsense, but attractive.

Celebrities are weirdoes. Their brains operate differently than ours do, cooked under the constant glare of our attention. This isn’t to say that they’re bad people – though plenty of them are – so much as to recognize that they’re not normal. They’re strange. If they’ve been dealing with fame and its trappings for long enough, they’re basically aliens.

Case in point: the number of them who readily, happily admit that they don’t believe in bathing.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 11:03

Weird National Briefs (08/11/2021)

In a pickle(ball)

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) — Some residents in a northern Michigan community are complaining about noise during summer nights.

Rowdy teens? No. Adults playing pickleball.

Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula won’t restrict pickleball hours at four courts. City Manager Jordan Stanchina had suggested ending games at 6 p.m., but 20 players attended a recent council meeting to object, The Daily News reported.

Roxanne Hudson, who lives next to the courts, said she and her husband “just want to move.”

Noise from the paddles and plastic balls goes on “hour after hour” and “just drives you nuts,” Hudson told the council.

Pickleball is played on courts that resemble tennis courts but are much smaller. That’s part of the appeal.

“We’ll try to mitigate (the noise) somehow,” Mayor Dale Alessandrini said.

Scott McLure, speaking on behalf of players, said they might try quieter paddles. A 6 p.m. curfew isn’t favored because it wouldn’t give people time to play after work.

“Every recreational activity has noise,” council member Bill Revord said.

TME – They do make quite a racket.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 11:02

Returning to the stage at the CCA

ORONO – Live performance is coming back to the Collins Center for the Arts.

The CCA, located on the University of Maine campus in Orono, has begun announcing its 2021-22 season. It isn’t the same sort of robust slate that we’ve seen in the past, due to the circumstances of the pandemic and its impact on live performance, but rest assured that there is plenty of quality fare scheduled to hit that stage (and likely more to come).

Formerly known as the Maine Center for the Arts, the CCA has been a vital hub for the performing arts in the region ever since the Bangor Symphony Orchestra christened its stage all the way back in 1986. The iconic building has played host to memorable acts large and small over the years, bringing a wonderful variety of arts and entertainment to our area.

The Collins Center is a foundational piece of the region’s cultural community; for over three decades, they have been a key part of the scene, offering quality programming at affordable prices year after year.

Now, things are going to be a little different this year. Live performance venues are only just beginning to ramp things up again, so things might advance a little more slowly than we’re used to. And we have to recognize that the situation is still evolving, so there may be changes on the horizon.

Still, it’s nice to think about this venerable venue opening its doors and raising its curtain again. The Collins Center for the Arts is an incredible resource, a beautiful space that plays host to a vast and varied collection of performances that we would otherwise have to travel hours to experience. Is the menu a little more limited right now? Sure. But there’s still quite a delectable selection of music, comedy, drama and more in store for audiences.

That’s the real joy of the CCA – it’s not about the stuff you already like (though there’s plenty of that), but rather the stuff that you don’t yet know that you like.

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 11:42

Celebrity Slam - All the Twitty Horses

Every once in a while, the stars align and we’re able to address a Celebrity Slam item from personal experience. It doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, we’re always thrilled to take advantage.

This week, Twitter experienced a bit of an embarrassment when the company verified an account purportedly belonging to reclusive author Cormac McCarthy. It was obvious that the account was fake and when McCarthy’s publisher confirmed the fact, the blue check was removed.

It’s ridiculous, because the fine folks at The Maine Edge could have confirmed its falsity for them with ease.

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 11:41

Weird National Briefs (08/04/2021)

Chair and tear

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A giant ladderback chair that stands 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall may be big but it wasn’t tough enough for some vandals.

Damage to the massive “Big Chair” made from 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of cedar and white pine was captured early Thursday by surveillance video outside a credit union where the chair sits. The video shows two males and two females climbing and jumping on the chair.

The original chair was built in the late 1940s and became a popular roadside attraction. Over the decades it has been rebuilt several times.

The security video captured the moment the joints gave way, apparently injuring one of the vandals who was seen being helped away.

The Bennington Banner reports the weight of the people who climbed on the chair caused the sockets that held the cross pieces to split wide open. Now the chair’s wooden joints are in splinters and the rope seat is no longer in place.

“We have people on a daily basis come and take pictures with the chair. They drive here specifically to see it,” said Linda M. Bow, the chief business officer for the Tri State Area Federal Credit Union’s Bennington branch. Bow said. “It’s going to be hard to replace. It wasn’t meant for climbing.”

TME – *Insert Edith Ann joke that no one under 40 will get*

What’s that you say? A book centered around Shakespeare AND academia? Yes, I WOULD like to know more.

As someone with both a deep and abiding love for the Bard and a personal understanding of the ins and outs of small liberal arts colleges, I was always going to be interested in a book like Mona Awad’s “All’s Well” (Simon & Schuster, $27). However, while that introductory elevator pitch was enough to get me in the door, could it keep me there?

Reader, it most assuredly could. And did.

This is a darkly funny and strange tale, the story of a woman whose professional and personal missteps (both figurative and literal) have left her in a bleak and hopeless place. It’s the story of what can happen when passion curdles into something else, something powered by self-loathing and anger, all of it set against a backdrop of a theatre professor who makes a bargain that she doesn’t understand in a desperate hope to turn around the life she sees slipping away.

Oh, yeah – it’s back, baby! Our neighbors to the north are getting geared up for another season of CFL football!

It’s great to have the league back this year; the CFL lost last season to the pandemic, making 2020 the first year in over a century not to feature a Grey Cup championship contest. Seriously – it’s the only time other than the stretch from 1916-1919 that there was no Grey Cup game. Never forget that there’s a ton of history behind the Canadian game – just as much (if not more) than our own NFL.

Now, this season is going to be a little different. Pandemic circumstances have led to a bit of a truncated schedule; ordinarily, the league would have kicked off a couple of months ago. Instead, the season’s first game will be on August 5 and feature the reigning champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the squad they defeated in that 2019 Grey Cup matchup.

We’re looking at 14 games played over 16 weeks, with the regular season coming to an end on November 20. The playoffs will begin on November 28, culminating in the 108th Grey Cup, scheduled to be played on December 12 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Canadian game is definitely different than what we’re accustomed to seeing in our own NFL, but it’s those differences that make it fun to watch. It’s a fast-paced and wide-open game, one that offers its own energy and excitement. If you want to see for yourself, there will be plenty of opportunity thanks to ESPN’s broadcast partnership with the league; it might be ESPN+ or a broadcast arm, but keep an eye out and you’ll get your chance – just as an example, that Winnipeg/Hamilton tilt will be on ESPN2.

Are you ready for some (Canadian) football? Let’s look ahead at the 2021 CFL season.

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 11:31

Red Sox Report Card - July 2021

Well … it was fun while it lasted.

I know, I know – it’s unfair to be defeatist, even after a month whose final day saw the Red Sox cede first place in the division to the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s not like July was outright terrible – Boston still managed to finish the month with a record above .500, albeit just barely (13-12).

Still, this isn’t the same team that looked so strong over the early part of the season. It’s a squad that has clearly come back down to Earth; whether they’ll be able to right the ship and regain their advantage in the A.L. East going forward remains to be seen. But there’s no denying that as a team, they simply haven’t performed up to the same level that we saw in the season’s first half.

All that being said, there’s a lot of season left. And July, while far from perfect, did have its bright spots to go with its downturns. Let’s break it down, shall we?

On to the Report Card.

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 11:29

The way of the gun – ‘Billy Summers’

Whenever anyone brings up horror fiction, the first name that inevitably arises is Stephen King. And there’s no question that he is the absolute master of modern horror, having given us some of the scariest stories ever to be put to paper. And if that was all he was, that would be more than enough.

But it isn’t. Not even close.

That’s not to demean his massive success in the horror genre, but we’ve seen plenty of work from King over the years to show that he is about more than genre. He transcends genre – the man is, above all else, a storyteller, unafraid to follow in whatever direction the tale takes him.

His latest novel is “Billy Summers” (Scribner, $30), a book in which King embraces a different kind of darkness. Not the supernatural shadows, but rather the bleak and sinister spaces within the hearts and minds of man. It’s a book more evocative of King works like the Bill Hodges trilogy or “Later” from earlier this year, one that digs into the author’s affection and affinity for pulpy noir fiction. There’s a gleeful griminess to it, even as he unleashes the full capacity of his storytelling prowess.

(In case you haven’t guessed yet, it’s VERY good.)

Monday, 02 August 2021 12:22

Welcome to the ‘Jungle Cruise’

Oh look – another Disney movie based on a theme park ride. It’s been a while.

From a financial perspective, making something like “Jungle Cruise” makes perfect sense. Slap the name of a familiar attraction on an action-adventure type movie, cast a charismatic movie star in the lead and watch the cash roll in. “Pirates of the Caribbean” already showed us the massive box office potential of this formula – why not give it another go? It’s going to make money.

From an artistic perspective, well … it’s going to make money.

The film, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, is an effort to adapt Disney’s popular ride to the big screen. Directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, it’s a familiar attempt to adapt preexisting IP into a new format in which it can be further monetized. That’s a cynical reading, obviously, but doubtless an accurate one.

As for the actual movie? It’s fine, a pleasant enough diversion; at the very least, it’s a movie that a family can watch together (though there are some moments that might prove a bit much for younger viewers – it’s rightfully rated PG-13, for whatever that’s worth). The charm and charisma of the two leads, along with other talented performers, allows for an enjoyable experience, even if things do get a little muddled by the thin plot and general CGI morass.

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