Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Freebies

There are some scraps lying around on our writing table, and rather than go all nut-so on them one at a time, we thought we’d ‘aggregate’ them into an Other Side collage, as it were.  Should be enough to make you want a break from us….just long enough to watch the Commercial Bowl on Sunday.

MHPC Event in Brunswick Adds Segment

We posted here on an upcoming event to be held at the Inn at Brunswick Station next Thursday, February 6th.


Titled “Global Illusions - Bowdoin’s Post-Citizens and the Future of American Higher Education,” the event was initially scheduled to run from 11:30 to 2:30.

It has now grown to include a morning panel discussion running from 9:00 to 10:30, but the price is still the same – $35.

We hope to see some of you there.

For additional information, please contact Kate Clark by phone at 207-321-2550 or by e-mail at

Public Tells School Board to “Back Up The Truck”

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
Thomas Sowell

In the category of surprise, surprise, this Forecaster article tells how some of the usual suspects from the mommy mafia in the BCU are taking issue with proposed school construction plans.  In the process, they’re second guessing the ‘new directions’ instituted with the advent of the Harriet Beecher Stowe School and its linear village design.

The criticism expressed during a nearly three-hour meeting was less about the proposed school's estimated $24 million price tag and more about the educational philosophy supporting it.

Nevertheless, the applause that sometimes erupted from a large audience in response to speakers was an indication the board may not have the support it needs to ultimately pass a voter-approved school construction bond.

After reading the article, we had a slight case of the déjà vu vapors, coupled with an ‘excuse me’ stuck in our throat.  We recall all the emotional pleas for ‘school equity’ to overcome the ‘socio-economic’ disparity of various town neighborhoods. 

The idea was to throw away the idea of ‘neighborhood schools’ in favor of each and every grade being housed in only one school, so that, for example, EVERY second grader would attend the same school as all other second graders.  This, we were told, would eliminate the inequities of having second grade classes at multiple schools in neighborhoods of differing socio-economic profiles.

Well, golly gee, it seems that this ‘new philosophy’ has already proven itself to be unpopular, if not mis-guided, and may be about to run its course.  We, of course, had previously pointed out that unless EVERY second grader, for example, had the very same teacher (making for a very large class, but a smaller payroll), the notion of ‘equity’ was facetious, because teacher capability varies significantly.  Unless you think they are robots or drones, some kids get the best teacher, and some get the worst.

Speaking of the deja-vu part, we’re reminded that the ash-heap of breakthrough ‘education philosophy’ is still smoldering away from the ‘open classroom’ theory foisted upon a gullible public some decades ago.  This is the philosophy that drove the design of Jordan Acres School, which, in a moment of inattention, suffered severe structural damage caused by of all things, SNOW. 

Far be it from us to suggest that this was intentional inattention; but it’s not far from us to suggest that it was a ‘stroke of good fortune,’ applauded by many, including those who design and build new schools.

We have no idea how deeply the now less than loved philosophy drove the design of HBS, and how much it will complicate switching horses.  But we are confident that no matter what the initial estimates turn out to be, the final cost and impact will be significantly higher.  “It’s in their nature.”  “Numbers” Ellis is probably at work on the plan as we speak.


Brunswick Station and Public Art

If you have the stamina to read it, this packet for the upcoming town council meeting puts forth a proposal, to be privately funded by donations, it says, for a piece of art at our train/bus station that is shown in the photo below, superimposed through the magic of digital image manipulation. 

Which is a reminder that the old rule of ‘pictures can’t lie’ went the way of passenger trains. 

You’ll find the info on pages 8-11.


We couldn’t find a name for ‘the piece,’ but we’re thinking “Leaners” or “Three One Pointers” might capture the essence of it.  We did find this Artist Statement, however:

In my sculpture, I use curves and texture to mimic motion and emotion. I carve directly, developing a relationship with the stone instead of precisely copying a maquette. I embrace imperfection, and try to avoid perfect symmetry. I am constantly playing with the inter-relationship form has with itself. I strive for my artistic voice to come through my work, to touch, and connect with the viewer and pull them in.

I work to have my outdoor sculptures be part of their environment, to relate to the landscape; to hone the viewer's attention to the serenity of life and to develop a sense of place. The simplicity of the sculpture complements the complexity of its landscape. Stone has its own natural beauty, I aim to accentuate this and work alongside the stone's structure. When I start carving a block of stone, it feels as if it is static or asleep. Carving into each block pulls life into the stone, awakening the stone with each curve and angle. Each piece has its own passage to completion.

Oh how we wish we had his way with words, which seem to derive from the same school of aesthetics that animate the best of real estate advertisements.  But as you know if you come here frequently, we do ‘embrace imperfection,’ and we strive for our artistic voice to come through our work. 

The simplicity of our thoughts complements the complexity of our subjects.  When we start writing on a subject, it feels as if it’s asleep.  Carving out our words and punctuation ends up taking it beyond sleep, to a zombie-like state.


Which reminds us of a prior ‘public art installation’ at the Station, one that ‘integrated seamlessly with the very essence of the location,’ to ‘transport one through the medium of expression to a different world, where art is what art is.’


If you do choose to read the packet, don’t forget to read the cost update on McClellan transformation, which we assert will soon be proven woefully low.  And the opening discussions for a new community pool, which we may decide to christen Lake Basebegone.

Questions and the “Idiotic” Tally


“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth--anonymously and posthumously.”
Thomas Sowell

Yesterday’s post on ‘Questions’ has so far garnered two votes for ‘idiotic,’ which tells us at least two ‘readers’ don’t want to see the questions answered.

Any guesses who those two readers might be?  We have our own ideas.  Still, we offer an open-column policy for these nay-sayers to post their comments, if they can summon up the courage.


Compared to the other capers they’ve been engaged in around here, sending in the equivalent of a ‘tweet’ ought to be chump change for them.           

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