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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Friday, February 14, 2014


The storm Pax* blew through last night. It wasn't as bad here on the coast as it was inland. The snow was heavy for a while but turned to rain in the night; the wind was high but not so bad as to knock down our trees; but the surf this morning is marvelous.

The bay itself is relatively calm. The turmoil comes from deeper down and starts to show itself just a hundred feet from shore. It's almost high tide. I get warning of the big ones, since the shore is angled such that the surf first strikes a bit to the south, and I look up from the screen to see five- and six-foot waves mounding up and arching, and the white crests curl over and violently claw at the rocks below the bank, ending in a spray and a hiss. The eye is mesmerized.

But it's the sound that truly captivates. Deep, elemental, cloacal, it strikes the lowest register of nature's scale. Organs seem to vibrate. The ocean is making its deepest possible prayer. We on the land receive it gratefully.

*This business of naming winter storms is ridiculous, another over-hyped way to attract the eyeballs and ads of our paranoiac society. Also, Pax? Weather Channel, do you know what that means?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Toboggan championships

The 24th annual US National Toboggan Championships were held last weekend at the Camden Snow Bowl. In a sport where winning times are differentiated in hundredths of seconds, the actual winners don't matter, much as in most of the Olympic speed events. Therefore, I continue to present (4th annual) my awards for best team names.*

Two-person teams

Gold                               Nothing to Luge

Silver                              Hard Water Sailors

Bronze                            Fat Bloated Idiots

Honorable Mention         Auf Wiedersehen

Three-person teams

Gold                                Comfortably Numb

Silver                                My Favorite Man Sandwich

Bronze                              Soupcon de Plunder

Honorable Mention           Reeses Pieces

Four-person teams

Gold                                 Surry with a Binge on Hops

Silver                                Morning Wood

Bronze                              Team Barstool

Honorable Mention           Gas-X

*As usual, past winners such as Soggy Boggan Boys, Eat More Kale, and various quantities of Wingnuts remain ineligible for a while.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hog Bowl

For the first time ever, in a coincidence of inanities, Groundhog Day shares its glories with the Super Bowl. This is appropriate. Watching football is like watching the movie Groundhog Day - the action spins out in jerks and starts, the plays appear to be all the same, and the players in their anonymous blobbiness look rather like groundhogs, at least to me. It's just too bad that the morning's silliness doesn't spill over into the evening.
It's so damn serious! I think the coaches should wear morning coats and top hats and call out plays in a Pennsylvania accent. Bill Murray should play quarterback. The football could be an actual groundhog. And the commercials? Run static shots of snow shovels and scarves and the Weather Channel and donate the $4 million per slot to the Society for the Prevention of the Cruel Humiliation of Professional Football Announcers.