Posts Tagged ‘Maine’

Majority Rule?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Interesting new bill proposed by Republican Senator Thomas Saviello: LD 607 (SP 187) “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Require the Governor To Be Elected by a Majority Vote“.

No way this passes, but I have to mention it because yesterday I received my “Maine’s Majority” stickers in the mail:

Order yours today!

Maine To Get NRA Plate?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Check out the new bill from Augusta: “An Act To Establish a National Rifle Association License Plate“.

This would be the first plate in Maine to give money to a private group.

North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee have NRA plates.

LePage’s Special Interests

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Maine’s Tea Partier-in-Chief, Paul LePage, has been in the news quite a bit lately; most recently he told off the NAACP the week before Martin Luther King Jr Day, calling them a “special interest”.

Sometimes I think his “special interest” is upsetting people with whom he doesn’t agree.

Granted sometimes I think he talks first and thinks later.

Either way, he’s in the press again, this time the left-of-center Portland Phoenix has found a list of his real special interests: “LePage’s secret bankers.”

Moxie in Florida

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Oh snowbirds! Did you see that “Florida is getting some Moxie“?

New Red Lobster Design

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Apparently Red Lobster is retrofitting 700 stores in North America with what they call the “Bar Harbor Design” that is inspired by Bar Harbor, Maine.

They say the new design “creates a warm, inviting seaside atmosphere.”

Check out these photos:

Lobster Trap Tree

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I’d heard about this on the radio, but I only now saw a photo (one of Yahoo! News’ most viewed) of the 50 foot lobster trap tree on Beal’s Island. Apparently they are competing with Rockland and Gloucester, Mass. for the tallest tree.

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“In this photo taken on Dec. 2, 2010, Albert Carver, looks at a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree made of lobster traps on Beals Island, Maine. Some of the top lobster-fishing ports in New England are claiming bragging rights about who has the biggest and best Christmas tree created from lobster traps. The groups that put up the trees say they draw attention to the ports’ maritime heritage, bring people together and raise money for good causes. The tree in Beals helps raises money for the Beals-Jonesport Fourth of July festivities and the one in Gloucester benefits a nonprofit devoted to the arts.”

Fringe was in Maine

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

I’ve spoken in the past of the television show Fringe. It started out a 21st-century X-Files, but then it went all parallel universe and really came into its own.

Anyway, two weeks ago episode 6, titled “6955 kHz”, started out in Maine!

Here’s the Stockton Harbor intertitle, in the show’s 3D graphic style:

Fringe Episode 3x06 "6955 kHz"

Now, to be picky, Stockton Harbor is actually only a body of water; the land near the harbor would probably be Stockton Springs or maybe Searsport.

Anyway, we meet our intrepid lighthouse keeper, who I have named “Mr. Bad Accent”:

“You cahn’t get theyah from heeah …”

Then the lighthouse keeper turns on his MacBook and all hell breaks loose:

Just as we think he’s dead, he pops up; but something’s wrong. He’s all slack-jawed and confused, and thus we begin tonight’s episode …

I don’t want to make fun of Fringe, it’s a clever show, but I have a few squabbles with the portrayal of my state in the show.

First off, bad accent. Baaaaad. But that’s almost to be expected when Maine’s on film. The majority of the audience won’t even know it’s bad.

Besides, the next location for the episode was Chinatown, and I have no idea how their accents were. Probably laughable. But I don’t know!

Secondly, lighthousekeepers? Didn’t that go the way of dial-up internet years ago?

Thirdly, his outfit. Why does everyone think that Mainers wear knit hats and wool sweaters all of the time? I blame L.L. Bean. Outdoorsman bastards!

Overall, it was a so-so episode, borrowing heavily from its cousin Lost (seriously, a radio loop of pre-recorded numbers? You barely explained that shit in Lost!) But I like the ideas of The First People. Very Zecharia Sitchin-meets-fifth sun. I like.

Portland, Ramadan and Sports

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Yesterday’s Maine Sunday Telegram had an interesting article about local Muslim teens who play sports while observing Ramadan, “Holy month presents challenge to Muslims who play sports.”

I’m not quite sure why she’s not wearing a shayla in the photo, though.

Tide Power

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

You probably heard about the tidal current generators Eastport last week, but this article has a good description (and pictures) of the TidGen turbines: “Maine offshore energy project exceeds expectations.”

Every time I go to the ocean it strikes me how much energy the tides have. And it seems much more constant than wind, too.

I hope they can make this work on a larger scale …

Maine International Film Festival

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The 13th annual Maine International Film Festival ended yesterday, we managed to get up to Waterville on two different days to check out five films.

Apparently they play fast and loose with the whole “international” aspect of the festival; three of the films were produced in the United States. But they were flicks that would be tough to see in the real world, so it worked.

Here’s a list of what we saw, with the descriptions from the website. All were interesting, but I think 3 Idiots was our favorite. And with the genius of the iTunes Store we were able to download two of the songs from the soundtrack, something that would have been impossible only a few years ago.

The Silent Enemy (1930) USA
From the early sound era comes a striking film shot amongst the Native American tribes still living on the land in southern Quebec, near the Maine border, some 80 years ago, and presented at MIFF in an amazing 35mm print. A unique and now unrecreatable record of a lost way of life – even though itself a somewhat romanticized fiction – The Silent Enemy was seen as that even at the time of its release, as witness this review from the day in Time Magazine: “Every schoolboy knows that the Indian has not yet quite vanished from the forests of the continent that was his. But no schoolbook, museum or government bureau will ever preserve the vestigial red man as this picture does…. The cast was recruited from the Ojibwas of upper Ontario…The time is before Columbus. A famine year is upon the forest. Baluk, the tribe’s big-muscled hunter, reports to Chetoga, the old chief, that their people should go “many moccasins” north without delay to the crossing place of the caribou. Dagwan, the malicious medicine man, makes it a condition of the plan that if game is not found, Baluk must die. The north wind and great snows meet the Ojibwas on their march. The Great Canoe (Death) comes for Chetoga. “The land of the little sticks” (Hudson Bay barrens) is reached…”

3 Idiots (2009) India
There’s a reason why 3 Idiots has become the biggest Bollywood film ever. Actually there’s several. First, there’s a complex and charismatic lead performance by Aamir Khan (who MIFF audiences saw last year in a different Bollywood film, the intense psychological thriller Ghajini), now easily the biggest Bollywood star on the planet. There’s an intriguing and involving story: Two friends embark on a quest for a lost buddy. On this journey, they encounter a long forgotten bet, a wedding they must crash, and a funeral that goes impossibly out of control. And there’s a winning mix of the comic, the dramatic and yes, even a fine musical number or two. “A superstar for more than two decades, Aamir Khan has never been more popular than he is today, in his mid-forties. In writer-director Rajkumar Hirani’s tuneful, enjoyable college comedy, 3 Idiots, Khan plays “Rancho,” an engineering student so brilliant that he barely has to break a sweat to place first in his class. Rancho always has plenty of energy left over to wage a guerrilla war against the institution’s emphasis on rote memorization…. In the ingenious extended finale, Rancho serves as a deus ex machina guru/savior to the ordinary mortals he has befriended along the way. Hirani embraces melodramatic convention with open arms, but he is also a crafty entertainer who smoothly choreographs his overpopulated storyline” – David Chute, Village Voice.

Ahead of Time (2009) USA – AFI Project: 20/20
An inspiration not only for her ground-breaking career, but for her vitality and humor at 98 years old, Ruth Gruber has led a life almost impossible to believe. Born in Brooklyn in 1911, she became the youngest PhD in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at the age of 24. With her love of adventure, fearlessness and powerful intellect, Ruth defied tradition in an extraordinary career that has spanned more than seven decades. The first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic in 1935, Ruth also traveled to Alaska as a member of the Roosevelt administration in 1942, escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944, covered the Nuremberg trials in 1946 and documented the Haganah ship Exodus in 1947. Her relationships with world leaders including Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, and David Ben Gurion gave her unique access and insight into the modern history of the Jewish people. The film interweaves verite scenes with never-seen-before archival footage, and is an unforgettable portrait of an unforgettable woman.

Cell 211 (2009) Spain
Nominated for no less than 16 Goyas (Spanish Oscar equivalents), this tough as nails, absolutely riveting prison drama won eight, including Best Film of the Year this year. The story of two men on different sides of a prison riot—the inmate leading the rebellion and the young guard trapped in the revolt, who poses as a prisoner in a desperate attempt to survive the ordeal – Cell 211 is a tension-filled drama with complex characters, a tight focus and real integrity. Its Goya winning lead acting performance by Luis Tosar is unforgettable.

Sita Sings the Blues (2008) USA
Not for nothing does this utterly wonderful and utterly unique film come trailing universal raves like Roger Ebert’s: “Astonishingly original. I am enchanted! I am swept away!” Or the Boston Globe’s: “An almost indescribable pleasure, delightful!” Sita Sings the Blues is flat out the most fun you’ll have in ages. Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920’s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”

230 years (and one day) since the Dark Day

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

How had I never heard of New England’s Dark Day until, well, yesterday?!

And I have a poem too! I know, I know, I only quote poetry about the apocalypse (see Two-thousand-and-Froze-to-Death?).

In the old days (a custom laid aside
With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
Their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianus,
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

‘Twas on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
The crater’s sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as He looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.

Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
“It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,”
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. “This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in.

Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries, Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd dry humor natural to the man:
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.

That was John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Abraham Davenport” first published in The Atlantic Monthly in May of 1866.


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Months that should be summer’s prime,
Sleet and snow and frost and rime.
Air so cold you see your breath,
Eighteen hundred and froze to death.

Oh that Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times has another interesting one: “The Next Great Scary Story?

They’re linking the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland to the 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that caused the year without a summer a/k/a “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

Oddly they see it in a positive light, which I equate with making lemonade out of lemons.

Personally I don’t care much for frozen lemonade, though.

Read the wikipedia article about the summer, but for a more local perspective here’s a clip from “The Weather” section of Portland’s long lost Eastern Argus from June 12, 1816:

The extraordinary cold state of the atmosphere during the week past, surpasses the recollection of the oldest person among us. The wind from N. to N.W. continued extremely high till yesterday [June 11] accompanied with a winter chill that rendered a fireside very comfortable – but a check is given to all vegetation, and we fear the frost has been so powerful as to destroy a great portion of the young fruit that is put forth. – On Saturday last [June 8] a gloom was cast over the face of nature by the appearance of snow which fell plentifully about 7 o’clock in the morning. On Monday [June 10] the coldest since 25th of May, thermometer stood in the morning 34 above 0 – much ice made in various parts of town the preceding night; and in the country we are told it was more severe.

Yes, snow on June 8th, ice on June 10th.

That’s not what I’m looking for in my summer vacation.

Just to prove how weird this all is, I’m going to quote another poem; Darkness was written by Lord Byron in July 1816 … during that summer.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind the blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day…


New Maine Beer!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

I just discovered “A Blog About Beer” with their post about the new Baxter Brewing Co.

What is Baxter? A new beer company, setting up shop in the historic Bates Mill in Lewiston. Their twist isn’t a twist at all – they’ll be the first brewery north of Connecticut to can its entire line of beer.


You’ll find Baxter beer in Maine this autumn, across northern New England in 2011.

Maine Has Lowest Car Insurance

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I’m probably just preaching to the choir here, but here’s another reason why Maine is good: “Maine Auto Insurance Rates Lowest in Nation.”

The president of the Maine Insurance Agents Association, Chris Condon, says, “It’s a real proud culture.” In most disputes, Mainers tend to seek fair treatment rather than big money.

“People are less likely to sue than they might be elsewhere,” Condon says, “I think that impacts those rates over time.”

Here’s the full list at

No Reservations Maine

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

If you missed last night’s episode of Travel Channel’s No Reservations that was in Maine it’s available to purchase on the Apple iTunes Store now.

Mine’s downloading as I type …

Bourdain in Maine

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I can’t wait – the No Reservations episode they filmed back in January (see No Reservations Portland and More On Bourdain) airs on Monday.

Here’s a clip:


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

As you probably have heard, the 44th and current President of the United States Barack Obama is going to be in Portland, Maine tomorrow.

Today Liz stood in the rain for two hours to try and get tickets to his speech at the Expo but they sold out.

I still might go, just to get a glimpse of this epic man.

Milbank on Reform

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Dana Milbank has a good column in last Sunday’s Washington Post: “Health reform and the specter of Alf Landon.”

Landon, you might recall, ran against FDR in 1936’s presidential election – the most lopsided election in the history of the United States in terms of electoral votes (I don’t want to spoil it, but FDR creamed him).

Additionally the 1936 presidential election, you might recall, was the one in which Maine lost its place as the bellwether presidential elections.

For the hundred years prior Maine had almost consistently predicted the Presidential winner. See, back then our statewide elections were in September. In the presidential election years we oftentimes voted in the governor or senators from the party that would go on to win the presidential election. The political wisdom of the time became “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

Then 1936 happened.

Only Maine and Vermont voted for Landon.

Thus the phrase jokingly became “As goes Maine, so goes Vermont.”

Anyway, check out Milbank’s article.

Les Otten Article

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Forecaster has an interesting article about Maine gubernatorial candidate Les Otten. Even from the title I think you’ll get the gist: “Risky Business.”

Last Sardine Cannery to Close

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Apparently there’s only sardine cannery in the United States: in Prospect Harbor, Maine.

But in two months there’ll be none.

Got that fun fact from this Bangor Daily News article: “State plans aid for cannery workers.”