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The Maine Event - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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The Maine Event
I spend most of my late afternoons reading while at the gym, and many early evenings watching films or the occasional tv series. These paths are often random and rarely intersect, but this week they did:

After finishing Kate Danley's latest novel(la) about Werewolves in Medieval Combat (loved it but, as with many e-books, had no idea when it would end), I needed to grab something and picked something that looked fairly recent from the cellar stash. Eleanor had read it but I never had; it was, and remains, Preachers Lake by Lisa Vice, and is the 48th read of the year for me. It's mostly set in Maine, where the residents, for good reason, should properly be referred to as Maniacs.  The first two chapters introduce a series of them, ranging from slightly dysfunctional to just plain weird, and one of the characters' lovers is written out of the story off-set in the first chapter in a fairly brutal road accident.  Although that one happened in Manhattan, it does seem fairly common in the state, as Stephen King could certainly tell you.  I'm still working my way through the quirkinesses of all those she brings to us, but it's beautifully written and I'm looking forward to the rest of the journey.

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Meanwhile, we'd both heard good things about a new HBO miniseries called Olive Kitteredge, and have watched the first episode of that and a little bit of the second. (The final two parts air this coming Sunday and Monday night.)  This one's also set in Maine, working through a series of flashbacks to life Up Thayah beginning in the 1970s, and it, too, has a cast of characters running the Mostly Weird gamut.  Chief among them is the title character, played brilliantly by Frances McDormand; her Olive is the antithesis of her Fargo persona of Minnesota Nice, slicing through her students, her family members and anyone else who crosses her with a crocodile-sharp verbal bite.  Yet she shows an immense (and often prescient) amount of caring for some who need it the most.  Her opposite is Henry the town phahmacist, played with perfect droll by Richard Jenkins, who played "Late Nate" throughout the HBO run of Six Feet Under despite getting run over by a bus in an early scene of the series premiere.  (I thought for a moment that McDormand was his wife in that, but that was Frances Conroy.)  The rest of the cast is lesser known but well selected and just as well acted.  Among the other television stars homaged in the first hour are Livia Soprano (Olive pity-bombs someone with a Nancy Marchandish "poor you"), and, somewhat spoilery, fellow Maniac[Spoiler (click to open)]Jessica Fletcher, since this Maine town has a homicide rate in the first hour approaching that of Crabapple Cove (two horrific deaths shown, another two, including a cat, done in offscreeen).

The music, the cinematography and even the lighting are Major Motion Picture quality- McDormand herself and Tom Hanks are among the EP's, and they put a clear amount of effort and love into this laib-ah.

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A final New England connection should not go unmentioned, as this week brought news of the death of Tommy Magliozzi of longtime Car Talk fame.  His brother Ray is surely devestated but isn't afraid to laugh a little in the end- noting his brother's longtime struggle with Alzheimers, the cartalk.com site quoted him thus:

“Turns out he wasn’t kidding,” said Ray. “He really couldn’t remember last week’s puzzler.”

A longago friend of mine posted a homage of his own to Tommy, referencing the Puzzler that he submitted, and Click and Clack used on the air, during the show's original run. I'll post it below in all its brilliant obfuscatory; see if you can get it. (I did.)

RAY: This was conceived by Michael Freedman, and preobfuscated and submitted by Howard Weinstein ( puppykissesblog).

Baseball fans old enough to have seen games either in person or on TV at Yankee Stadium during the fifties and sixties saw a fairly unusal sight: three monolithic stone monuments on the playing field in the deepest part of center field. Looming like giant tombstones, they memorialized early Yankee manager Miller Huggins, and immortal players, Babe Ruth and, of course, Lou Gehrig. During one game in the fifties a Yankee outfielder let the ball get by him and it rolled between the monuments. As the outfielder scrambled for the ball, Yankee manager Casey Stengel shouted from the dugout, 'Ruth, Gehrig, Huggins. Somebody get that ball back to the infield!'

When Yankee Stadium was renovated in the mid-seventies, a larger monument park was built behind the outfield fence. Many more monuments and plaques were added honoring the great names from Yankee Stadium's long and storied history. Now most of those honored Yankee players. But oddly enough, three plaques honored former Cardinals, men who never played for the Yankees. How could that be? And for extra credit can you name those former Cardinals?
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Comments
bktheirregular From: bktheirregular Date: November 7th, 2014 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Simple: not everyone in Monument Park was enshrined as a player. Miller Huggins and Joe Torre both played for the Cardinals, but managed the Yankees.

I haven't a clue who that third person is, though - and the answer would depend on when the puzzler was first proposed (did it predate Torre's inclusion in Monument Park, for example?).
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