Have you heard that Maine is the dumbest state in the union? That's according to a recent survey — well, actually, a chart — published on a web site that goes by the 100% credible-sounding name of Pleated Jeans ("No filler, just funny!"). There is indeed something funny about this whole thing, but I'll get back to that.
While rejecting any and all attempts to impugn our intelligence, I do admit that we might be a little crazy.
It’s another snow day at Watershed, where I teach a couple of English classes, as well as, I imagine, at schools across the state. While the students are nestled all snug in their beds, it’s probably safe to indulge in one of our favorite grown-up indoor activities: chuckling over the week’s headlines.
The physicist Niels Bohr, a patriarchal Dane who died in 1962, was regarded for a time as one of the few people on Earth able to make some sense of the web of paradoxes inherent in quantum physics. One story about Bohr is that he was present at the reading of a provocative paper by a younger scientist. The paper was received with a thunderous silence broken finally when Bohr rose and said, “We are all agreed that your theory is crazy.
At the post office yesterday I ran into Will, a carpenter-slash-folk-singer — not the only one in the neighborhood, either, which can probably be laid to that lamentable ditty "If I Had a Hammer" — and we chatted awhile about our globe-trotting children. Will's son Seth is somewhere in Asia en route to Hanoi; my college-age kids spent the holidays in London and were due back in a few hours. It's all a bit bemusing to us small-town dads.
"Well, now's the time to do it," said Will.
With snow falling in unlikely places like Seattle this past week, it's clear that winter is upon us. Salt student and radio producer Scott Ladley went to see what winter meant to Maine farmers. Stumbling upon Meadowcroft Farm in Washington, Maine he found the seasons to not just be about the temperature. "I find one of the hard things about winter, my ritual, my routines, just the things that need to get done every day," said farmer Nanne Kennedy.
To make a long story short: I was browsing a well-thumbed copy of the Book of Common Prayer (1928 ed.) when I discovered tucked into its pages a secret codex titled Schedule of Events. It took a while to decode this — I had to wait until exactly 6:00 p.m. and then expose the parchment to the vapors of dry vermouth — but I can now reveal that Anglican (and hence, World) History will end precisely at ... but maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
It’s hard to remember sometimes that Christmas is a religious holiday — not just a school vacation, mandatory shopping season, and reliable catalyst of family conflict. If it weren’t for the occasional old-time carol slipping in between chestnuts and reindeer on the December playlist, one might reasonably wonder what this all has to do with a tiny slumbering deity in some backwater town in Galilee.
It’s hard to be a Luddite nowadays. Technology is all-pervasive; many of us schlep around with pocket-sized devices on which we could, in theory, paint a masterpiece or shoot and edit a high-def movie, complete with soundtrack. Bangor developer Jesse Grosjean has even created an app to turn your iPhone into a circa-1980 word processing terminal.
Photos by Andrew Propp
My Zeitgeist monitor must be on the fritz: the needle has been trending up toward "Cheerio" even as temperatures fall into single digits, along with the hours of daylight. I find myself staring in bemusement at these smiling faces around me. Can it be that all these folks actually like winter?
Being a thoroughly modern American as well as a responsible journalist, I decided to take a poll.