Small Town Newspapers

I spent an afternoon this week at the Lisbon Historical Society, reading through newspaper accounts about the town. I’m trying to nail down some events from the 1970s and 1980s. Reading back through the clips, I noticed a place that was considerably different than most of what I remembered at the time, when I was coming up.

Back in 2007, the year before writing Moxietown, my initial plan was to write an extensive nonfiction treatment on my hometown of Lisbon Falls. I just found the original outline of the proposed chapters. Some of that book ended up being folded into my first book of history about Moxie, which then led to a second one. There are no plans for a third. Continue reading

Driving Down East


Friday night, we were headed north on Route 1, our destination Down East and Machias. Miss Mary said she wanted to spend the weekend walking beaches she remembered from days past, gathering rocks, and spending a few days away. I love an impromptu road trip and being mobile as much as anyone, so I needed little persuasion when it was mentioned two weeks ago. Continue reading

Self Improving

Every time that you think you have it figured out, the universe comes along and teaches you that there are a few more lessons and tricks to learn. Being content with the status quo doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did.

I became aware again this week about the overwhelming volume of negative messaging emanating from people fully immersed in a culture perpetuating the status quo. Government is an easy scapegoat here, and if they were the only institution with this problem, then we might simply dismiss them and their antagonistic talking points. Continue reading

Know Your (Moxie) Audience

If you’re sick of me talking about Moxie, just plug your ears and go, “la-la-la-la-la.” It’s been awhile (two months) since I mentioned New England’s most iconic drink, and Maine’s official state soft drink.

Moxie as a subject has been a gift that’s given much more than I anticipated back in 2008 when I got the idea to pursue this intriguing subject. It seemed like a great follow-up to baseball. At the time, however, I never thought I’d sell out two printings and then, have Down East Books commission me to write a second book about this distinctly-different beverage. I certainly didn’t think I’d still be talking/writing about it five years later. Continue reading

Things I’m Working On

How often can we start over again? Two times? Five times?  Fifty? I don’t know if there’s a definitive number.

Being able to begin anew is a skill we’re all going to have to cultivate. It’s not natural and works against the instincts and the cultural prescriptions that most of us have imbibed. Those messages framing our personal stories began in school and probably before; often, they are working against our own best interests. Continue reading

Owning a Home

Foreclosures in America are at a crisis level.

Foreclosures in America are at a crisis level.

We can debate whether or not owning property is an American birthright. Home ownership, however, is part and parcel of a dream that we’ve all been sold on since before we could walk.  What does 10 million foreclosures say about that dream?

Most anyone reading that number is likely to have a couple of reactions, I’m guessing. One, where did the 10,000,000 number come from? I’ll get to that in a moment. By the way, 10,000,000 is a number that represents the number of people making up the population of the state of Michigan, America’s 10th most populated state. Continue reading

Music in the House

Readers of this blog know that I love music. My musical tastes are predicated on many things, various influences, but generally center around rock and roll and the subsequent tributaries that branch out from that originally subversive shoot.

I love live music, but like many of us as we get older, going out and seeing  live rock and singer/songwriters doesn’t happen a fraction as often as it did for me in my 20s, 30s, and even into my early 40s. While not unfamiliar with house concerts and the movement of some artists to adopt this vehicle for playing out and even touring, I had never been to one. That would all change on Tuesday night. Continue reading

Shifting Gears

I grew up during the heyday of classic rock. Of course, when I was coming up, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles–none of them were sidled with that banner–this would come later, when Boomers had to find a way to commodify music just like everything else they touched.

Rock and roll, once thought of as dangerous, and/or overtly sexual, was sanitized and now, these classic tunes have become nothing more than a sound score for the latest luxury sedan commercial, or to sell some other hideous household consumer item. Continue reading

Reconsidering Our Education Model

Having a generalized set of skills can be an advantage if you’re an entrepreneur, a free agent, or someone who has already become fully immersed in the new economy of the 21st century. While colleges are abandoning liberal arts majors in droves in favor of specialization, the inherent value of what higher education offers is also coming under increased scrutiny by some.

What are these “general” skills that I speak of? Is there a core toolkit of skills that someone looking to make it as a free agent should have? What are the skills that I’ve been able to cobble together and master, or at least become proficient at many over the past 10 years? Continue reading