Halloween costume: the tramp


These are all actually the same costume

In today’s Portsmouth Herald…

Sex sells: How adults hijacked Halloween
By Amy Kane

Happy Sleaze-o-ween. It’s trick-or-treat for tarts with the current trend to make every costume for the fairer sex “sexy.”

Vampires are vampy. Wart-free witches cast their spells. Policewomen are barely legal. Firefighters are too hot. Superheroes aren’t super enough unless they bare midriffs and thighs. Pirates show off their booty dressed in just a few skimpy rags.

Behold, on the racks of one local costume shop: the Viking Vixen, the Convict Cutie, Glamazon and Fifi the French Maid. Sinderella, you’re as lovely as your name.

Even Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow and Tin Man come in short-skirted, skintight, bust-baring versions this year. Just click your ruby red high heels together three times and say: “There’s no place like a strip club.”

The slutification of female costumes has never been worse. 383-768-fw1675 The scary part is that the trend includes very young girls. Six-year-olds as harem courtesans? Eleven-year-old she-devils in corsets and mini-skirts? An 8-year-old dressed as a “Ravager?”

I miss innocence.

The other evening my teenage daughter and I visited a local costume shop in search of something spotted and cute so she could dress up as a ladybug. She had made a pair of wings from painted cardboard and antennae out of a headband and fuzzy red pipe cleaners.

“I think I saw some red stockings with black dots here last year,” she said.

But the only stockings we could find were fishnets and thigh-highs. “You could be a She’s-No-Lady-Bug,” I smirked.

Nearby, in an aisle that put the “adult” in adult-sized costumes, we found the sexy candy striper, sexy baseball player, sexy bloodthirsty vampire, sexy gangsta, sexy Alice in Wonderland, sexy Queen of Hearts, sexy “Sultry Witch” and the “Touch-Me-Teddy.”

And for the gentlemen, what could be more appropriate on Hookerween than a purple velvet pimp costume?

The “sexy” trend is disturbing for a number of reasons. One, we’re shoving a trashy pop culture down our kids’ throats and that’s just sad. Two, we are supposed to be protecting our kids from predators, not offering them up on a gilt platter. Three, it isn’t healthy to teach a girl or young woman to tie self-esteem to superficial looks.

But the reason to loathe the trend most of all is that nothing (literally) is left up to the imagination. Where’s the creativity on the one day of the year we can totally unleash it? These store-bought “sexy” costumes are just all the same.

In one of our local stores, I noticed a 12- or 13-year-old girl standing in an aisle of costumes her size, looking a bit uncomfortable. She was shopping with her little brother and father.

“See anything you like?” he asked.

“Dad, there’s nothing in here that’s … appropriate for me.”

Wiser words were never spoken.

(Backstory: An editor at Seacoast Media Group read a blog post of mine and asked me to write an opinion piece based on it. “Can I use the word ‘sluttification’ in the paper?” “Sure.” “I’m on it.”)

Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

You know you want some…


Hobo signs

700 hobo names, a recording

Photodocumentary hobos in the USA

Hobo ethical code

An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis Missouri. This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nation-wide Hobo Body, it reads this way;

1. Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you.

2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

3. Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals treatment of other hobos.

7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.

8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal
chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad,
act like an extra crew member.
12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose to authorities
all molesters, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.



Oh, deer!

I had the camera on the passenger seat beside me, this afternoon.  I was traveling east on South Road, in southern Rye just north of North Hampton.

There were two of them. Note deer butt disappearing into woods on the right.

Yesterday I had occasion to visit an old building in the Portsmouth municipal complex. The building used to be a hospital. I went to interview a woman in an office in the basement, around the corner from a room that was the old hospital and city morgue.

It was not the purpose of my visit, just a fun new thing I learned by chance: there is a resident ghost named George. I didn't get the sense people were afraid of him, they just think he's there.

Some people say they can smell George. He wears an old-fashioned-smelling aftershave. Or would that be afterlifeshave?

There is also a ghost who has been displaced by a new building across the parking lot. She doesn't have a name or a home and maybe that's why she doesn't seem as friendly.

More ghosts of the NH Seacoast

Seacoast Halloween events

National Geographic ranks Portsmouth, NH No. 28 on list of World's Most Historic Places (No. 6 in U.S.)

It was the salmon mousse


In downtown Newmarket

Reminds me of a classic sketch from Monty Python "The Meaning of Life"

Part VII: Death

GEOFFREY: It's a 'Mr. Death' or something. He's come about the
reaping? I don't think we need any at the moment.
ANGELA: Hello. Well, don't leave him hanging around outside,
darling. Ask him in.

Click to watch the whole video clip.

Sunday newspaper and a cup of tea


Photo from last Sunday’s boat parade as we follow a submarine into port for commissioning

Perusing the news in Seacoast Sunday this rainy, cozy indoor morning.  Looks like it’s official…  

USS New Hampshire is in the Navy now

PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD — “Crew of the New Hampshire, come aboard and bring our ship to life!”

As the words of Portsmouth resident Cheryl McGuinness echoed through the crisp fall air, 137 Navy men, clad in their dress-blue uniforms, filed through an assembled crowd of 3,200 guests to stand topside aboard the USS New Hampshire (SSN-778).

Placed into commission just moments before by U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Jay Donnelly, commander of submarine force, the Navy’s newest Virginia-Class, nuclear-attack submarine was docked in the Piscataqua River at the edge of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

With a horn blast, the submarine signaled it was ready for service; the assembled crowd then heard a response horn from a pleasure craft on the Piscataqua River and a cannon blast from Prescott Park in Portsmouth, where an estimated crowd of 5,000 people had gathered to watch the live ceremony on a Jumbotron video screen.

McGuinness’ command to the crew was the centerpiece of a ceremony rife with symbolic gestures that evoked the history of the Navy and paid tribute to the USS New Hampshire’s new role in it.

McGuinness, the ship’s sponsor, is the widow of Thomas McGuinness, a former Navy pilot who was the co-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, one of two hijacked airplanes flown into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

I remember Cheryl.  At the memorial service for her husband Tom 7 years ago, she stood in church with her son and daughter beside her, before of a sea of family, friends and a few hundred men and women in American Airlines’ uniforms (including my husband), and spoke of her loss and pain with amazing strength, purpose and grace.


We said we would never forget.


My husband got home from a trip late last night.  Yesterday, for a change, he was not harassed by the petty officialdom of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), who have taken a special interest in making pilots’ traveling lives miserable lately.


John was gone 16 of 25 days this month, but that’s nothing compared to what the wife of a submariner endures.  And here’s one who blogs: Kat Kaiser in Pearl Harbor.  At least I know where my husband is when he’s gone.

Sub watchers, last Sunday

Sub commissioning inspires viewers at Prescott Park

Despite an overall sentiment that ran primarily in favor of the commissioning of the submarine, a number of area high school students — clad in white lab coats — peacefully protested the ceremony by pretending to scour for “weapons of mass destruction.”

The students, who were from Oyster River High School and are members of the activist group Students for Democratic Society, said the commissioning was symbolic of inappropriate government spending.

“It’s the fact that a $2 billion sub and a $300,000 ceremony,” said Alex Fried, a student from the group. “That money could have gone to a lot of other causes.”

Ah, what would Portsmouth be without its street theatre?


Or the men who serve, for example, on advanced stealth multimission nuclear-powered attack subs and are on duty (should the need arise) to protect, for example, students in a democratic society?


By the way, I think the $300,000 was all raised locally, voluntarily, from businesses and individuals.  As for the $2 billion, I think (to paraphrase Joe Biden) that’s a patriotic use of my tax dollars.


Also yesterday, around 12:30 p.m…

The wail came from one of 121 sirens sounded in a 10-mile radius of the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant during an audible demonstration of their emergency system.

The funny thing was, I was in the kitchen and I had just been thinking about making a cup of tea.

When the blaring surround-sound of the sirens began, with all the windows and doors closed in the cool October weather, I thought I had put the kettle on and it was whistling.

Splish splash


Photo by John Carden, with permission

In today's Rockingham News…

Seacoast Charter School kids learn about water resources

By Amy Kane

KINGSTON — Think globally, but act locally — with collection jars, test tubes, temperature strips, reagent tablets and color charts.

As part of World Water Monitoring Day on Friday, Oct. 17, fifth- and sixth-graders from the Seacoast Charter School had a lesson in caring for local water resources on the sandy shores of Greenwood Pond.

Parent volunteer and water resources consultant Brian Goetz led students in sampling and testing, recording the pond's temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH and turbidity.

Data will be posted on the World Water Monitoring Day Web site, where students will be able to compare the Kingston pond to other bodies of fresh water around the world.

"Everybody has the same kits and everybody does the same things," Goetz told students. "We can see where our results fit in."

Last year over 46,000 people from 43 countries on six continents participated in World Water Monitoring Day. The program builds awareness and involvement in protecting water resources.

Students read the temperature strip on the side of the cup of the first sampled water and discovered that it was 18 degrees Celsius (roughly 65 degrees Fahrenheit) — still pretty warm close to shore on the sunny day.

Dissolved oxygen was 8 on a scale of 10, which was healthy, said Goetz.

Teacher John Dinger asked his students to speculate why more rather than less dissolved oxygen was a good thing. Students guessed correctly that — among other things — fish "breathe" that oxygen.

pH — the measure of the pond's acidity — was right in the middle at 7.5 on a scale of 0 to 14.

Turbidity measurements showed that the pond was relatively clear, without much sediment or other matter suspended in the water.

Goetz said last year in New Hampshire, among sites sampled, average water temperature was 13.17 degrees C, dissolved oxygen was 5.8, and pH was 7.1.

He said Greenwood Pond appears to be healthy right now. This is important not just for this place and the plants, animals and people that depend on it, but because it is part of a watershed, he added.

Students learned the week before about the way bodies of water are connected. They simulated the flow of water through Kingston's own Powwow River Watershed, which includes Greenwood Pond, using buckets of water.

Each student acted as a particular pond, river, lake, stream and ocean, and used buckets to pass water from one body of water to the next until it reached the ocean. They realized that pollution in one place can flow into all waters downstream of the source.

Dinger asked his class to speculate about the health of local waters in years to come: "Do you think it's going to get better or worse? Raise your hand if you think you can have a part in it."

The kids put their hands in the air.

World Water Monitoring Day