GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
One hundred years ago today, General Joshua L. Chamberlain - the "lion of the union" - linguist, professor, mason, soldier, Medal of Honor winner, public servant, and author -- died at the age of 85, from the lingering wounds he had suffered at the Siege of Petersburg, fifty years earlier.
"First time I ever got beat up by a baby moose." -- Maine moose trapper/tagger Wes Livingston gets mauled by an ungrateful juvenile moose on video. [via 9MSN; TW: animal mauling; Livingston is ok] [more inside]
On March 22, 1621, a Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to meet with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had brought along only reluctantly as an interpreter. Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea.
The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn't enough to save them In addition to providing a beautifully written account of what happened, the article does something subtle but incredibly cool in using a Native centered perspective that really illuminates how dramatically silenced and othered Native voices are in other accounts.[more inside]
San Francisco's Bay Barge Mystery "Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay." And now one has showed up in a Maine harbor. Update from C|Net News.
'There’s more lobster out there right now than anyone knows what to do with, but Americans are still paying for it as if it were a rare delicacy.' Also, from 2004: David Foster Wallace goes to the Maine Lobster Festival. Via)
“For more than 150 years, logging techniques remained the same. Men cut trees by hand and loaded them on horse-drawn sleds to be hauled over snow to the river. Skilled river drivers maneuvered the logs downstream, risking their limbs and lives every day. [From Stump To Ship] survives as a record of the long log business. Highly detailed scenes, filmed year-round, are uniquely enhanced by the original script, written to be read with the silent footage in the 1930s. The soundtrack is brought to life by Tim Sample, narrator and renowned Maine humorist, in the role of the filmmaker, Alfred Ames.” [more inside]
A Maine hermit went into the woods at age 20, survived for 27 years by pulling off 1,000+ robberies, then finally was caught last week by game wardens using hidden cameras.
Robert Campbell of Glenburn, Maine, has been baking beans in a bean hole for nearly forty years. “Even when I don’t need the beans,” he says, “When Friday night comes it’s just an urge comes over me to start that fire and start baking bean-hole beans.”
Life on Matinicus Island: "Matinicus lies 23 miles out to sea, the most remote inhabited island on the Atlantic seaboard... one of a vast necklace of islands, more than 3,000 in all, spread out along the Maine coast as far north as the Bay of Fundy. A century ago, 200 or more of them were fishermen's communities; today, only 14 are inhabited year-round... Today, two years after putting a bullet into the neck of another lobsterman, in defense, he says, of his daughter, Vance Bunker is a pariah on the island: legally acquitted but privately unforgiven, widely but quietly reviled." (via longform)
Meet the Green Candidate. Is Maine ready to elect America's first Orc Assassin Rogue senator?
While not as famous as its photogenic neighbor, Boon Island six miles off the town of York, Maine has quite the history of cannibalism, ghosts and shipwrecks. Would you like to own the tallest lighthouse in New England?
Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
* Not including The Dark Tower
Recess Stories is a series of live-action, short films for kids, performed by kids and based on real-life events. The first season is available to watch online or download for free, and Season Two is coming soon.
In 1975, with $3,000 in savings Roxanne Quimby and her boyfriend moved to Maine. They bought a tract of land on which they built a cabin and an outhouse. Near her Guilford homestead, Quimby later met beekeeper Burt Shavitz and used his beeswax to create candles (making $20,000 in her first year selling at local crafts fairs) -- and later their (yes, the two cofounded a company together) best selling product Burt's Bees Lip Balm (it's Burt's image that still graces many of the company's products). With the phenomenal success that followed, she sold 80 percent of her shares in the company to New York investors in 2003 (eventually the company was sold to Clorox) to help fund significant land purchases. For years Maine sportsmen have been outraged with Quimby for forbidding hunters, loggers, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on the 120,000 acres of woodlands she now owns. Quimby has recently offered a compromise. She wants to donate 70,000 acres to help create a new national park (Maine Woods National Park) while "setting aside another 30,000 acres of woodlands ... to be managed like a state park, with hunting and snowmobiling allowed." [more inside]
Maine governor Paul LePage has ordered the state's Labor Department to remove a mural he says is too pro-labor. He has also declared several of the building's conference room names to have "one-sided decor." This was reportedly at the behest of anonymous businesses who complained of a pro-labor bias. [more inside]
Last US sardine cans being packed in Maine. The Stinson Seafood Plant in Prospect Harbor, Maine was the last sardine cannery in the US, packaging Beach Cliff brand sardines (the "world standard for excellence in sardines"). The cannery shuts down this week. Of course this received a fair amount of coverage in Maine, including hopes that a new owner might buy the cannery as recent as a week ago. There's an interview with one of the long-time employees as well as a time-lapse video of the canning process. [more inside]
After more than ten hours of deliberation, Vance Bunker, along with his daughter Janan Miller, were found not guilty. The result of last summer's so called "lobster wars".
The Life and Times of Major Jack Downing of Downingville, away down east in the state of Maine, written by himself. [more inside]
The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier Jr. at the University of New Mexico. "In 1941 to 1943, Collier worked as a photographer with the Farm Securities Administration and the Office of War Information under Roy Stryker and documented many areas around the eastern U.S and northern New Mexico." The full photoset is at flickr here.
Maine became the 31st state to block same-sex marriage through a public referendum Some said the loss was a sign that the state-by-state approach favored by the largest gay-rights groups had failed and that the focus should move to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and which Congress can overturn without voter approval. Others argued that the defeat only reinforced the need to keep winning grassroots support. [more inside]
The woman at my polling place asked me, do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people? I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, "What do you think I fought for on Omaha Beach?"
Maine Ways (SLYT)
You'll have to pry this mailbox from our cold, dead hands. At a time when a disgruntled few are turning up at town hall meetings around the country with assault rifles to defend America from the potential threat of health care reform bringing "socialism" to our doorstep, at least one small town in Maine seems to be saying, "Free markets be damned! We want access to our favorite government service whether it makes economic sense or not."
'Artisanal butters' are favored and appreciated by cooks and gourmands -- especially those crafted by "garage entrepreneurs" from Maine [video]* and Vermont (churned by Diane St. Clair and favored by Thomas Keller at his noted restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se). Butters from Canada, France, Ireland and elsewhere are also cherished. [more inside]
Maine House votes in favor of marriage equality, 89-57. In the process, Rep. Sheryl Briggs reveals that she cannot vote for the bill, despite the fact that her daughter is a lesbian. No word yet as to whether Governor John Baldacci will sign the legislation, but a campaign for a People's Veto is already underway.
So you go to be spaceman. If the space race had taken a few different turns, we might have ended up with a historical exhibit that looked like the one cooked up by the American Dream Technical Institute. [more inside]
Science & technology funding has an enormous long term impact on the economy, a fact that has not escaped China. Yet, Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have proposed cutting all National Science Foundation and Department of Energy Office of Science funding from the Senate American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, along with almost all other proposed funding of the sciences and technological development, as a part of a $77.9B reduction effort. Why? Well, you'll notice that Nebraska & Maine don't contribute much to science & technology in the United States, nor win many grants, and hence no bacon for Nelson and Collins. [more inside]
The story of Benjamin Darling and his descendants begins with a dramatic shipwreck and ends, generations later, in a dark moment of human injustice [more inside]
Dick Stacey's Country Jamboree is now available on DVD/CD after years of slowly fading into obscurity. "I was wrong in thinking the Jamboree was a thing of the past," said Dick Stacey, a man whose three gas stations and motel took over sponsoring this uniquely Maine talent showcase on a whim in 1973—and ended up lasting just over a decade. [more inside]
"Are ice cream trucks sacred like fresh apple pie and high school football or are they unwelcome nuisances we tolerate?" You can weigh in here.
Mounted 70 feet up in a white pine tree on the coast of Maine, the BioDiversity Research Institute's live eagle webcam provides, "live video of a nesting pair of bald eagles, 24 hours a day. These eagles are the most successful pair in the state. They have nested at this site for 13 years, and raised 20 offspring." Warning: the live stream can be habit forming (especially when waiting for the eggs to hatch).
Northeast Historic Film is the best of quirky Maine. They archive home movies, collect postcards of New England movie houses, and study depictions of New England in major films. Browsing the list of collections is tantalizing; if only some of these were available as clips or on YouTube. They're one of many archives preserving home movies. Also.
"...it looks like the dad's selling the tickets, the boy's complaining about something, and the mom and girl are extremely disinterested." If you liked Ted Bates, you'll love the Portland Sea Dogs. Quoth King Kaufman: "The hilarious part of the controversy is the statue itself, which is funnier than Spinal Tap's Stonehenge. It's that bad."
Fight the Powah! Small-town Maine teens set off bombs at their local Wal-Mart. Maybe they were hopped up on Skowhegan Martinis. Perhaps they wouldn't have been so angry if The Revolution had happened.
At forty miles (64.4 km) from Pluto to Sun, the Maine Solar System Model is the largest complete three-dimensional scale model of the solar system in the world. What, you didn't know there was more than one? And yes, Pluto is staying put.
A coyote raised on Moxie and Allen's. Maine's chupacabra dead at 25. Finally done in by a bondo covered El Camino SS (poster speculation on car type and quality).
Rough draft or a copy made by a Da Vinci acolyte? A painting entitled, "La Gioconda" which bears a striking resemblence to this one hangs in the distinctly non-Parisian Portland Museum of Art (Portland, Maine). Technical studies indicate that it was painted in 1510 (3-7 years after the orignal Mona Lisa). The Portland museum recently decided to re-display the painting [NB: link to public radio story] (having last hauled it out of the basement when the book came out).
Maine's favorite drink is Allen's Coffee Brandy and milk. No, really, it is Maine's favorite drink. Let's go get a sombrero, brother!
Old lady versus bobcat. Old lady wins. Don't mess with Maine's rural elderly-- Mildred's a badass.
Palaverous Diatribe on the ethics of lobster consumption by the equally equanimous David Foster Wallace.
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