Wednesday, February 8, 2012

R.I.P. West Athens Parade and Happy Anniversary Cuban Blockade

The news came from my sister at the first glimmer of dawn today: The West Athens 4th of July parade has been cancelled this year.
My sister who lives in Maine does an excellent job keeping us apprised of hot news in Maine that may not be fit to print in the New York Times, but which she knows will be of compelling interest to CSB and me; items such as the possible closing of the Caratunk Post office (tragic) or the rescue of the Good Will-Hinkley School, by a grant from the Alfond Foundation (good news) or the infestation of the Admiral Peary Historic Site on Eagle Island by rabid lemmings (unsure).
And since she knows how religiously we attend the West Athens Fourth of July Parade she knew we would need to know immediately. This is a terrible loss for creative counter culture, for the marijuana industry of central Maine, for coolers filled with lite beer, for Tattoo Pride of Maine, and for devotees of burning rubber. But we suspected this was coming.
The parade began about 40 years ago with a group of hippies and back-to-the-land, off-the-gridders got together to celebrate Independence in their own way. The floats featured raucous political satire, arcane cultural commentary and great costumes. Over time, alas, the focus shifted to inebriation, scanty costumes and burning rubber. If you, like me, have lived a sheltered life, chances are you have never witnessed so many trucks and ATV’s burning rubber on purpose. If you, like me, are clueless, then you have no idea why anyone would do this on purpose.
So with many fond memories and a few disclaimers, here are a few pictures from last year’s Fourth in West Athens.

In other news, I just received this email from my father.
On the television they mentioned the 50th anniversary of the Cuban blockade. Tell me what this is all about because I have lost this. Has this been good? Apparently other countries have dialogues with Cuba. Have we accomplished anything by continuing it? I don't know.

He can recall WW2 and the pony cart overturning as they went to first grade, but not this. And why should he?
I should note that he dictated this email and it was typed by his secretary, because the emails he types himself require creative translation. The emails he types himself look like those word verification gizmos to “prevent automated systems from adding spam”, and that may be why his offspring are quite good at deciphering Captcha and other forms of gibberish.
In case you are wondering, CAPTCHA is not a slang rendition of Captured ya (à la Gotcha) but an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart.
Also in case you are wondering, I wrote back to my father that no, the Cuban blockade has not been a good thing.

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