Fish-Eyed

IMG_4563Seriously, can’t you just smell this place from this photo of goggle-eyed fish, ready to be consumed by happy fish lovers?  Water on the floor, people walking around with heavy aprons and boots that come up to the knee, and the sharp, clean scent of fish — ridiculously fresh fish — everywhere you care to take a sniff.

And this is just the retail side of the Portland fish market.  Imagine what the wholesale side looks and smells like!

Real Seaside

IMG_4559We’re now in Portland, Maine, enduring some rainy weather but enjoying the “old port” section of town.

Portland has a well-preserved dockside area, where many old buildings are still standing.  Some of the huge brick warehouses have  been refurbished and house upscale shops, taverns, and ice cream emporiums, but some buildings, like the wooden fish market, appear to be pretty much like they have been for time immemorial.  Walking past the ramshackle structure, you can almost feel and smell the tons of haddock, cod, smelt, and other sea delicacies that have passed through its doors and the generations of salt-crusted fishermen who have hauled them in.

The refurbished buildings are pretty, but I prefer the unadorned — and presumably more authentic — fish market.

On The Water, And Bedazzled

IMG_4558It’s hard to express what it’s like for a resident of a landlocked place like Columbus to be out on an open body of water like Maranacook Lake, skimming over the blue water on a boat, dazzled by the bright blue sky above and the sun-dappled water below and enjoying huge gulps of fresh, lake-moistened Maine air.

Words can’t capture the feeling; even pictures can’t do complete justice to the experience.  It’s just wonderful, and the kind of special occurrence that make vacations memorable.  Thanks to our gracious host, and ship’s captain!

Blaming It All On “Addiction”

Yesterday Ariel Castro was sentenced to more than 1000 years in prison for the kidnapping, rape, and years of torture of three women in Cleveland.

Michelle Knight, who was held captive by Castro for 11 years, read an emotional statement at the hearing.  She said she had spent 11 years in hell, and now Castro’s hell would be just beginning.  She also vowed not to let her terrible experience define her, or affect who she is, and instead to live on despite the ordeal.  Those are noble, life-affirming sentiments from someone who has had to endure the unendurable.

Castro also spoke.  He blamed his behavior on an “addiction” to sex and porn that made him “impulsive.”  He said he was not a “monster” or a “violent predator,” but just a “normal person” whose addiction made him not understand that what he was doing is wrong.  “I’m a happy person inside,” he said.

Castro later said he was “truly sorry” for his acts, but of course that “apology” rings awfully hollow.  It’s obvious that Castro has rationalized away taking responsibility for his heinous acts, blaming a phony “addiction” rather than accepting blame himself.

One thousand years is a long time, but mere physical incarceration is not the same as experiencing true moral guilt for your criminal conduct.  Castro obviously doesn’t, and that makes even a 1,000-year sentence seem inadequate.  It’s a sad day for our society when a man who kidnapped and enslaved three women, raped them repeatedly, beat them until they miscarried, and kept them in chains, can deny his obvious status as a “violent predator” and publicly claim to be a “normal person” who is “happy inside.”