Coffee With That Blog Archive 2009
We are not yokels here in Maine. We read books and keep abreast of current events and speak an advanced form of English. If only we dressed in black, you could drag us to swell parties all over the Isle of Manhattan and we would not embarrass ourselves.
And yet we are people who live among moose.
Is it possible the world is divided into Updike people and Cheever people? (Along with, I suppose, people who don't read at all?) I tried again — and failed again — to elicit some Cheever love among my students at Watershed. They remain steadfastly loyal to the man from Ipswich.
In a seemingly unrelated development, a bunch of Gravely Concerned Maine Citizens launched a petition drive to ensure that people like me can't get married.
"In a minute there is time," frets J. Alfred Prufrock — poor schlub! — "for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."
Children of Men, a terrific British flick based on a novel by P.D. James, imagines a future in which some mysterious affliction has left humankind unable to reproduce. In a scene shot at a derelict elementary school, one of the characters — a former midwife — delivers this resonant line:
"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in."
Yesterday at 1:18 p.m., I got this e-mail from a happy stranger named Lucie Bauer:
"This morning Governor Baldacci signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom!"
It felt so ... sudden.
"God is horribly absent," wrote literary critic Francois Mauriac upon surveying the thirteen volumes (in the original French) of À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust's titanic literary masterpiece. Nearly one-and-a-half million words — enough for Guinness to declare it the world's longest novel — and "God" is not among them. Incroyable!
There’s always been a certain voyeuristic aspect to the World Wide Web. It’s most evident these days in the endless queue of homemade videos — often embarrassingly personal — that people upload to YouTube. But back in the days of HTML 1.0, the little team of developers who created the Netscape browser set up what I suppose must have been the world’s first live webcam.
I was just chatting with a friend ... how many ghastly tales begin like that? The subject was “Japanese” gardens in Maine. I use quotation marks advisedly.
Many of us share an impulse to create some kind of Japanese feeling or atmosphere in our own backyards. Fortunately here in the Northeast — where the landscape does often have a suitably ancient and craggy look — it’s possible to attain such a thing with fewer contortions than in, say, Baltimore.
All right, I’m calling it. We’ve had the last hard frost of the season. It happened about a week ago. I should have made a note -- let’s call it April 15th, for ease of memory.
I’ve written here and in the print edition of Down East about the VA medical center at Togus. My take, drawn largely from my own observations, has been strongly positive.
That has drawn a couple of responses from readers — a couple as in two, so far — which are striking in that they represent almost polar ends of the spectrum.