Stranger Observations (18)

Farewell: Who the f*@# am I anyway?

I’ve never been good at saying goodbye but I have always admired those who are. There is something magnanimous in the person who knows how to leave correctly, to say the appropriate parting words and then walk away without looking back. Perhaps our true character is revealed in the way we say goodbye? How I’d love to be the steadfast type, the stoic, a man of his word, of principle. I am not especially principled.…

Rare books, rarer context

Ian Kahn is the founder of Portland’s little known Lux Mentis Booksellers, and many would be tempted to call him a rare book dealer, for he does, in fact, deal in rare books. The spines of first editions, second editions, and editions that are otherwise unique or peculiar in one way or another score the length of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that limb the walls of his in-home office, downtown. But the word “rare” ought to give…

Beaches for Free

Maine’s beaches get a lot of attention, and rightfully so. With 3,478 miles of coastline — stretches of open sand, granite headlands, and pleated shale cliffs — it is, without a doubt, an arresting stretch of scenery. And yet, with the summer upon us, I can’t help but recall last summer when, still getting oriented, I found myself longing for the West Coast. Not for want of beauty, but for want of — how to…

Mental equilibrium vs. nasal equilibrium: Why I’m voting for Trump

A couple of weeks ago I bought a neti pot. I’ve been having these sinus problems, understand, and normally I wouldn’t tell you this, but I figured because it’s allergy season you might take an interest in my nose. Maybe you use a neti pot or know what one is, but I was entirely new to the experience. Basically it’s a small pot, in the shape of a tea kettle. You fill it with water,…

Maine's meteorite: needles in a haystack

Since Wednesday, May 17, when a meteoroid gilded New England’s skies and clouds with a stroke of argent light, a small handful of people have been canvassing the woods and roads, just outside of Rangeley, the estimated location of the meteor’s impact.             “As people keep saying, it’s a needle in a haystack,” said Barbara Barrett, the director of the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, “but one that we find worth looking for.” The museum…

A stranger in Bubba's

It has come to my attention that Bubba’s Sulky Lounge is a popular favorite among the “Best of” crowd, winning both best nightclub and best dance club. I think that’s good and right, though I confess I didn’t know there was a difference between a nightclub and a dance club, but then again I am notoriously naive about the ways of the world. At any rate, Bubba’s is a strange place, a dance club of…

Our sound, our fury, and our idiot: on Kenneth Rosen’s poetry

HOW TO SHAPE UP Lose weight, lose years,  Learn again how to grow hair, Fit the clothes only a moron Would try to wear, plus improve What you hear—must be wax Like corn cobs plugged with Candle stubs in those ears’ gothic Forest of bristles and fur. Swim Harder and faster, you bastard, And remember, first they pull Your teeth—two upper molars Went Friday like mushrooms Or white stumps in a swamp Thanks to a boot…

A sidelong glance from the West Coast

One week ago today I was in Portland, Oregon, asking people what they thought of Portland, Maine, for the last issue’s cover story. I’m from Arcata, California, one of the northernmost towns in that awkwardly long state, locked in by redwoods to the east, the Pacific to the west, and just one-hour north is the Oregon border. I left when I was 21, I have lived in Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, and spent a good…

In defense of simplicity, The North Point finds its middle ground

Now, I’m no food critic, and I’m not about to pretend to be one. I’ve been called a lot of things before, not all of them nice, and I’ve pretended to be a lot of things, too, but a foodie is not one of them. Not that I have anything against foodies, or food, for that matter, categorically speaking, anyway. Sure, there are foods I am not fond of and there are some foodies I…

Stranger Observations: A Pickwick holiday option

I find Christmas depressing. I don’t mean to be a Scrooge, but I do. I’m all for the Christmas spirit, and I’m all for the way Christmas can bring people together. And in many ways, I’m all for the tradition of gift giving. It’s a nice way to show one another we care in a culture where I don’t think we’re able to articulate this enough. What bothers me is that all too often gift…
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