The year just gone will be remembered for many things, many of them bad but with the occasional nice surprise tucked in too, such as how the Russians discovered they no longer know how to take over another country.

Among the many signs of disaster and despair that resonate greatly with me is the news from the federal government that the price of eggs rose almost 50 percent in 2022.

Once upon a time, as I am sure you know, egg production was an important part of daily life here in Knox County. And the need to store and distribute chicken feed led directly to the construction of the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

Most readers should know this by now, of course. The Good Lord knows I have mentioned it often enough.

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One advantage that comes from living here in the towers is that at no point in the year, regardless of the strength of whatever storms may blow, do I ever lose power.

This is because I don’t have any power.

I make do mostly with candles, and a complicated device by which wharf rats (stolen at random from the shore along here) run themselves ragged in a hamster wheel to power a miniature generator. Unfortunately, a distant relative was using gasoline to run his generator when, on the morning of Christmas Eve, his house in Central Maine burned down as a result of some malfunction with the device.

The underlying horror of this disaster is that everyone in Maine could easily foretell, many days in advance, that something bad would happen in the days leading up to the holiday. It was merely a question of how bad and where.

We all knew several days out that high winds and heavy rains would prevail on Dec. 23, and we all knew that this would lead to thousands of power outages. It was monumentally inevitable. Even Central Maine Power seemed aware of the fact, as it had apparently hired numerous utility crews from states far away to sit at the ready in various Maine parking lots, waiting to repair the numerous downed lines.

Here in Maine, we plant trees and utility poles in exactly the same place. Here in Maine, when the wind blows or snow makes branches heavy, branches and sometimes whole trees fall on power lines and immediately black out whole communities, sometimes for hours or days at a time.

Here in Maine, we must have a special kind of patience to put up with this dire risk every year, although I sometimes wonder if “patience” is the right word.

In fact, I think the powers that be know full well how far we can be pushed, because among all the things that we are supposed to worry about all year long, all the things that are said to be “serious issues confronting the people of this State,” we never hear a word spoken about our defenselessness all winter long against power outages, loss of light, warmth, property, and life.

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A week or two ago I mentioned that a chap I know showed up too late to get into The Strand movie theater to see the new documentary movie called “Rockland: A Maritime History,” because when he got there all the seats were taken.

It turns out that he was among about 100 people who were turned away from the theater due to there being a full house. As a result, the movie will be shown again on Jan. 21 at no charge, and I am given to understand that it will eventually be distributed to the public by various digital and electronic means (notwithstanding my comments about power, above).

In related news, The Strand begins to celebrate its 100th birthday on Feb. 22. Organizers tell me that part of the year-long program to mark this anniversary will be a monthly showing of a movie that was released in each decade over the past hundred years, although not necessarily those that played at The Strand.

The actual list of movies to be presented was not ready to be announced when I called the theater last week and badgered them into giving me a few details. They were very nice however, and confirmed the basic facts.

As we know, the first talkies appeared in 1927, and this mysterious hook-up of sound and vision caused The Courier to publish a nice big illustration in one of its editions that year, explaining how we were going to hear movie actors’ voices as they leaped around on screen at The Strand. Very informative.

We might still think that live streaming of the latest wannabe 21st century blockbuster in the comfort of our own living rooms is a pretty good idea, but can you imagine what it was like to see and hear a movie for the first time in human history?

I am almost certain there is nobody left alive who might remember that remarkable experience. Surely, they’d have to be at least 105 by now. Anyway, happy birthday to The Strand.

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We learn from the paper that a sixth pot-related business is applying to open in the Lime City, and naturally some of our concerned citizens are very worried this might be too many. Some are even suggesting “they” ought to get other kinds of stores to open here, instead.

My first thought is that we can probably expect the routine operation of the marketplace to determine how many of the six businesses will stay the course. If supply is more than demand, we can expect a few suppliers to fold, as with every other type of business.

The second point is to wonder who “they” are who would decide what sort of businesses should open here? Sure, the city can ban the sale of certain products, but there is probably not too much that can be done to actively invite any kind of new business here, other than offering steep discounts on property taxes, etc. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce might have some pull? Not really sure.

When Walmart transported its operations from Rockland to Thomaston several years ago, there were those who wanted Marden’s to replace it. In the end, we got Ocean State Job Lot which is not too different.

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Poor Plywood Santa over at Creek Hill in Thomaston was lying flat on his face when I drove past him Dec. 27. Clearly, he was also a victim of the bad weather just before the holidays.

I was amazed the Trap Tree and Menorah at Merrill Park in Rockland stood up so well to the gale, although there did seem to be some trouble with keeping all the tree lights lit up some nights over the twin holidays. A couple of evenings ago its upper tiers were slightly dark, but mostly the lights blazed forth in a seasonally cheerful way.

Rockland was about the first place to put up a trap tree each year, although the first one I ever saw was in some fellow’s driveway on Watermans Beach Road in South Thomaston. Many other towns have jumped on the bandwagon since.

I read the other day that Mars Hill in Aroostook County has a tree shaped from (what else could it be?) potato barrels, and somewhere along the Boothbay peninsula they have a tree made out of lobster buoys.

I understand that Augusta is thinking of making its own unique Christmas tree out of huge bundles of stacked paper, which is the city’s principal product, most of it coming from the State House.

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Speaking of nonsense, let’s jump ahead a season or so and tell a story I heard on Christmas Eve about mischief on an April Fool’s Day long ago.

Sometime in 1985 or 1986, a gentleman I know was employed at the old Great Eastern Mussel Farms plant in Tenants Harbor. It was a business founded by Chip Davison in 1978 to process shellfish, but which closed down at the beginning of the Great Recession in the summer of 2008 with the loss of about 40 jobs, according to sources.

My informant said he thought it would be an awfully clever prank to remove all the bathroom doors in the plant for April Fool’s Day. He did this the night before, sneaking in via a second-floor window he had made sure was not locked earlier that day.

I understand the discovery of the missing bathroom doors on the morning of April 1 caused quite some consternation among workers and management alike, and as you can imagine consternation soon led to widespread distress. Police were called.

From what I can understand, my informant was at least wise enough to keep his mouth shut. He told me he thought it was a funny idea at the time, and said he did not quite understand the uproar he had caused because the doors he had removed were stashed in plain sight.

I assume the statute of limitations on missing bathroom doors has expired.

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at