Monday, January 27, 2014


In this economy work and life can be challenging. Which is why society needs recess; time away from the hustle and bustle, away from the bills, the stress and yes sometimes...even their own family. A time to unplug from the world, shutdown their cell phones and just think and laugh for a few hours.
People just need to go where everybody knows their...well you get the picture. In short, society was just waiting for something to dethrone karaoke night as the pub favorite - and now we believe its finally here...trivia night. We were curious so we conducted some deep research to see exactly when trivia night broke into the mainstream.

To answer that we need only go back to the 70s when a business from the United Kingdom started organizing pub trivia nights in hopes to bring more patrons into drinking establishments on slow nights. Cash prizes, drinking deals and inexpensive trivia entertainment caught on like wildfire and now you can find a trivia night almost any day of the week somewhere in town.

If you walk into Lewiston's Pedro O'Hara's on any given Tuesday you will hear the booming laughs of people decompression after a long day of work. Coworkers, friends, sport teams conversing, debating and heckling each other in a friendly manner during the pub's trivia night. Some truly rely on this time to escape their lives and who better to lead this mental breakout? Is it Rosemary the telephone operator? Henry the mild-mannered janitor? No, Lewiston turns to Lisa "Ryan" Haggerty.

Pedro O'Hara's co-owner Troy Kavanaugh and Haggerty started tinkering with the idea of a trivia night at Pedro's Brunswick location four years ago. Now she scours the internet, television, local events - in fact almost anything she can get her hands on to help bring a well-rounded assortment of questions to her crew.

"(Trivia) quickly became a huge hit with the locals and with the Bowdoin College students," Haggerty said. "We knew we had something special." From there co-owners Kavanaugh and Bill Welch decided to also try a trivia night in Lewiston. That too caught on and now, like many other trivia nights around the globe, their friendly battle of the brains has spawned a playoff where at the end...only one team is left standing. 

Despite the game being a competition in which all hope for the top cash prize, Haggerty believes its something much simpler that keeps people coming back for more. 
"I think people like that it isn't 100% serious and that they can sass back at me with an understanding that it's all in good fun," she said. " I love the fact that people come back every week. I really think of all the teams as friends and I hope they feel the same."

There are few people out there in our world that attempt to make us laugh and think at the same time. Sure there are plays, movies and even comedians but something as simple as a trivia night allows people the chance to not only learn something while laughing but also allows them an outlet to socially interact with friends and mediators. Its a great combination and is good for the body and mind. Doctors have said for decades now that laughing and stimulating the brain is good for one's health.

So after gathering 30 questions a week for four years we had to ask this mediator to dig deep into her bag and pull out her favorite trivia question over that span. She replied with a questions that asked her patrons to name the only U.S state that ends in its own postal abbreviation.

She likes this question for its not impossible to figure it out. Do you know the answer? If not then maybe you need to freshen up those brain cells and find yourself a trivia night. So lets raise a glass and thank the trivia mediators of our society for providing us with a brief, yet much needed, timeout. 


Saturday, January 25, 2014


We decided to kickoff our campaign of 52in52 with someone who has already been down the road and back again. A retiree who has educated thousands of students and instead of winding down after four decades of teaching, chooses to push forth with his on-going genealogy study. Here is a Mainer who has taught for 43 years, received the highest honor a Science Teacher can receive, The Presidential Award, and has authored a handful of classroom teaching guides and textbooks. It is with our utmost respect that we proudly introduce Mr. Richard "Dick" Lord, Jr..  

Being that this is our first entry we are not really sure on what format we are going to adopt. However, with someone as bright as Mr. Lord we couldn't help ourselves from tossing a few questions his way to see if we could soak up some of the wisdom that he has gathered while living in Maine and teaching up at Presque Isle High School.

DNA: What do you enjoy most about being a retiree? What do you do with most of your time nowadays? Is retirement like you thought it would be?

Mr. Lord: "The best thing about being retired is that I can do what I want on my own schedule. I no longer have to do things at specific times dictated by a school schedule. I use much of my time doing several things I enjoy. I collect ancestors. My hobby is genealogy and I spend a lot of time looking for new leaves on the family tree.

 I am also writing a book of classroom ideas and suggestions for biology teachers and hope to have it published someday. And I enjoy spending time with my grandson and attending his athletic activities. Since I really didn’t have any preconceived ideas on what retirement would be like, I am still learning about the freedom I have to do what I want when I want to."

DNA: How many teaching awards have you received? What did it mean to you to have received the Presidential Award back in '86?

Mr. Lord: "I have received 17 teaching awards at the national level, as well as one state and one local award. I was also recognized with honorable mentions or finalist awards four times. My biography has been published in 15 reference books.

The Presidential Award is the highest honor a science or math teacher can receive. I’ve heard it said that it’s comparable to an actor receiving an Oscar. One math and one science teacher is chosen from each state every year. I was extremely excited and humbled to be recognized by receiving this very special award in 1986. It showed me that I was being effective as a science teacher and that this was recognized by a select committee of scientists and educators.

It also reignited my passion for teaching, because now there would be higher expectations for me. Other teachers would look to me for inspiration. I would have to do the best I could do in order to be a part of this group of wonderful, innovative and creative teachers from all over the country."

DNA: If you could go back and do your working career any different based on what you have learned now...what would you do?

Mr. Lord: "I would have started being more original and imaginative from the first day of my career, rather than following the older teaching methods that I had observed in my student days. When I broke the bonds of "old school" teaching, there was no limit to what I could do to make my classes stimulating, motivating, informative, and enjoyable for my students."

DNA: If you could share some words of wisdom with a youthful - what life secret would you share?

Mr. Lord: "Seek God’s plan for your life. When you find something you are passionate about, immerse yourself in it and discover all you can about it. Surround yourself with people that support your goals. Follow your dreams."

Mr. Lord currently resides in Saco with his wife Marcia - a retired French teacher of Presque Isle High School.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

DNA Photography: 2014 Project Kickoff

For this year's project we decided to really challenge ourselves with a task that would result in making our team stronger photographers. Which is why we decided on a project that will showcase people who have made or are currently making a difference in our state.

It feels as though our social behavior/awareness has morphed into something a little less personal and sometimes when this occurs we take things for granted. Like our streets being plowed just hours after a heavy snow storm or that we can get a cup of coffee at 2am knowing that we still have a five-hour drive to Presque Isle ahead of us. Sometimes we forget that there are people out there fighting challenges much harder than our own and we just need simple reminders to help bring us back to the to basics.

Everyone plays a role in society and some people push to excel and surpass normal expectations. We hope to meet people along the way that inspire all of us and carry their role with pride. Whether it be a teacher, a retired police officer or a taxi driver - people have roles that help us carry out our everyday functions. And then there are those who simply motivate us on a deeper level. Ones that have sacrificed, and fought the fight that is not easy. The ones who have won and lost battles but never gave up. The ones that we turn to for strength and guidance.

We hope this project of 52 portraits in 52 weeks helps celebrate the people and the roles that they carry. In our 2014 Project, DNA Photography hopes to capture not just the people we photograph but also to celebrate the general function that they perform and hope that they act as  strong representatives for the others out there carrying out the same task.

52 in 52 is our attempt to raise awareness of the people around us...and maybe by doing so it will bring a little warmth back to our sometimes cold world.

Because we are only a team of two - we at times will be relying on you - our social network - to bring forth candidates that you have witnessed clearly make a difference in the world around them.

In advance we thank our participants for their time and hope we successfully capture each person as they see themselves in the roles they carry. The clock is ticking and when the 52 weeks are is our project. We know we are going to enjoy this journey...and we hope you do too!