Before I get to the news of the week, I must ask if any of you readers are currently students at one of Portland’s high schools. If so, are you reading this posting on your school-issued laptop? If so, are you aware that by doing so you are not only wasting taxpayer money, you are also employing this technology to undermine the values your parents, the educational system, and society as a whole have attempted to instill in you?
So that’s all good.
Grapes have always seemed to me to be pretty much useless. I don’t like wine. I don’t like Welch’s grape juice. I don’t like those little packets of grape jelly that come with toast in restaurant breakfasts. And while Steinbeck’s famous Dust Bowl novel isn’t bad, it should be noted that none of the principal characters is actually a grape.
The closest I come to being a vegan is when I’m asleep. I used to think I was also meeting the strict standards of veganism when I was drinking beer, which would have made me about eighty-five percent vegan, because I spend at least that much of every day either sleeping or drinking beer. But my calculations have been called into question by knowledgeable experts on the vegan lifestyle, by which I mean a couple of people I met in a bar.
Strict vegans, they told me, consider yeast an animal, so they don’t consume alcoholic beverages.
The Portland Sea Dogs, the Double-A minor-league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, finished last season with the worst record in franchise history. To the best of my recollection, the Dogs won about three games during the entire summer, all of them on days when I wasn’t at Hadlock Field. This was discouraging to endure, but I’m not a fair-weather fan.
I’m not a big believer in GPS. My wife, who wears one of those medical alert bracelets that notifies rescue workers that she’s “Directionally Impaired,” recently used her son’s GPS to navigate from Fryeburg to Bethel. Apparently, no one told the device that Route 113 is partially closed in the winter. Because not only is that the road the authoritative voice sent her on, it’s also the one it kept trying to return her to after she discovered the way blocked.
She only made it home after the unusually early spring melt.
Since 2009, sales of Allen’s Coffee Brandy (motto: If All Alcoholic Beverages Tasted Like This, You’d Be A Teetotaler) in Maine have been on a slow decline. No one knows why.
In fact, nobody knows why Mainers drink this stuff in the first place. Seems as if some university science types should be applying for grants to discover the cause. And maybe come up with a cure.
Thanks to prompt action by our legislators and governor, a shocking deficit in this state’s cultural heritage has been filled. Maine now has an official state march. It’s called “The Dirigo March,” written by Leo Pepin of Augusta, who named it after the official state motto: “March.” It sounds like this on the official state MP3.
A few days ago, an inmate at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland allegedly proved himself to be a criminal mastermind. (Please note that I used the word “allegedly” in the preceding sentence, which is supposed to convey to the reader that, yeah, this guy probably did what I say he did, but he hasn’t actually been convicted of anything yet, so I put in that “allegedly” to convey just enough skepticism to prevent him from suing us.
About a decade ago, the computer at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (motto: Unhealthy and Inhuman and Not All That Servile) began to malfunction. For a long time, nobody noticed because the program manager in charge of noticing things went out to lunch one Tuesday and didn’t come back for five years.
The announcement this week that Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe would not seek another term launched an avalanche of metaphors. Or maybe a landslide. Or a storm. A Snowe storm, get it. Those headline writers are so clever.