Death and cannibalism

By David Grima | Nov 05, 2019

First week of November, and the little white holiday-lights are already decorating the trees in the parking lot at Hannaford.

* * * * *

Snow of some sort is anticipated, perhaps for Thursday.

Speaking of snow, I saw a car parked on Monday afternoon that already had its studded snow tires fitted.

* * * * *

Despite these strong hints that colder weather is on its way, I distinctly heard what I thought were crickets singing in the woods of some town in Knox County on Sunday afternoon. But it seems unlikely.

According to the authorities, “crickets need their habitat to be 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit in order to stay alive and healthy. Anything colder than 75°F will cause death and cannibalism. Also, the hotter the temperature, the shorter the lifespan of the crickets.”

So they were probably another type of wee beastie, singing beyond the trees just before dark. How little I know about so very much!

* * * * *

A few weeks ago I mentioned that someone had said cruise ship companies were buying real estate in Bar Harbor, or some such thing. Yet I was told this week that this does not seem to be so.

Somebody apparently contacted the Bar Harbor authorities, asked, and was told they had no information that would lead to that conclusion.

Speaking of such things, this reminds me of a book I just finished reading, called “A Field Guide to Lies” by Daniel Levitin, which I bought cheap and used, but in good shape at Hello-Hello-Hello-Hello Books in our fair city.

(Not that my source for the Bar Harbor story was lying, just passing on something once heard.)

Levitin explains how statistics, graphs, charts, and other authoritative things can be wrong, misleading, or outright lies, all depending on what point the “lying weasel” wants you to swallow.

It also goes into other kinds of lies, such as those that appear as texts or other things that we tend to think of as easier to understand than mere numbers.

Particularly interesting is the author’s explanation for why so many people appear to believe that having their children vaccinated will expose them to the risk of turning out autistic.

Apparently the medical journal that published this untruth quickly admitted the original author had made a grotesque statistical mistake in his assumptions, and retracted the article. Of course, it was already too late for the conspiracists, who already had it incorporated as an article of their alternative-factual gospel.

Oh, well.

* * * * *

Halloween went off as well as could be expected under the circumstances. Predictions of heavy train proved unfounded, for which all are grateful I am sure, although the wind did blow rather a lot from the south, which kept temperature quite decent.

We had 61 callers up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. I had about 90 last year. I bought about twice as much ammunition as was actually needed (by which I mean ammo for the candy cannon.) What to do with the surplus? Very difficult question.

Uncle Ed visited with us up there in the dark clouds overlooking the harbor and the shipyard. Halloween is his birthday almost every year, so we tried to be nice to him, settling him down on an old wooden chair next to a cheap bottle of Type A and a slice of birthday cake, with a rug made of knitted bat feathers tucked over his knees.

He didn’t say much all evening, but seemed quite content.

Elsewhere in town, a cook at a local restaurant was wondering what to do with and excess of hot dogs that had been ordered in error, and decided he wanted to produce a seasonal dish of Hallowieners.

I have not had a chance to check with him and see if he really managed this, but it sounds like a rather good idea.

* * * * *

I see the Courier is finally admitting it will be moving up to Camden in the very near future. I mentioned this back in August, I think, because half the town already seemed to know.

My main concerns are two: The Rockland paper will no longer be produced in Rockland; and (more importantly) that the pigeons that deliver this piece of weekly nonsense, written in ketchup on scraps of used paper and tied to their scrawny legs, will now have more than twice as far to fly. It is a cruel world.

Oh, well.

* * * * *

Speaking of snow, which I did earlier, I once kept one of the boys’ snowballs in my freezer for about five years. I think it was wrapped up in plastic of some sort, but over the years it did lose shape and tone, and sagged a lot in the middle.

Rather like me, I suppose.

Not sure why I got rid of it in the end, as I am a rather sentimental old fool about things like this, but I do think it was in summer.

* * * * *

The Rockland Historical Society posted on its social media page this week a color photo of lawyer Sam Cohen buying lunch from the Benovitch Brothers’ hot dog wagon, at the top end of Main Street, one day in the 1970s.

RHS keeps digging up all kinds of pictures from the past and sharing them this way, and I must say it is one of the few places online where it is a pleasure to read everyone else’s comments and observations.

* * * * *

Speaking of summer, back in August I watched in fascination as a customer at Rock City Coffee demanded to know how much tax was involved in the price of a cup of their coffee. She refused to buy it until she was told.

I have no idea why she was so adamant on the point but perhaps she was researching a book, some kind of field guide to taxes, or thinking of going into journalism.

The counter clerk had no real clue about the relevant tax rate, and didn’t seem to think it a matter of tremendous importance. Neither did I.

* * * * *

Twelve months exactly until the big election. Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to be a very long year.

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

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 05, 2019 16:48

This dank season of political unrest and little daylight seems to have brought holiday lights out early. Mine have been on for a few weeks; hoping they might put a smile on someone's face driving or walking by. My neighbor is periodically lighting up his outside tree. Whatever works to spread the Good News of HOPE and TLC.  

The Man In The Glass

Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

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