Sent naked into the world

By David Grima | May 10, 2018

Volcanoes are much on our minds, right now, what with the thing that is blowing up in Hawaii, and the constant reminders that a monster volcano might erupt under the Yosemite region.

Why, there was even some suggestion recently that a volcano might be brewing below New England, somewhere beneath the Vermont and Massachusetts state line.

Thus it came to pass last Sunday afternoon that I found myself reading an informational sign at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. This sign informed me that the very spot whereupon I stood was once located 2.3 miles underground, beneath the summit of a similar monster volcano.

My feet were apparently planted firmly on the remains of the ancient magma chamber, that seething subterranean cauldron of hot liquid matter that once spewed out of the volcano’s cone all those miles above my poor head. This cauldron eventually cooled and turned solid, before becoming what is still the highest point remaining on the East Coast, the mountaintop in Maine where the morning sun first strikes our fair continent.

Reading between the lines of this and other signs at the summit, I concluded that what removed the more than two-mile thick layer of rock and earth from above me was the action of the even mightier glaciers.

All that is left in the region is made of the very hard stuff that even a glacier could not scrape away. The great ice sheets had to be satisfied with lowering the landscape by a mere couple of miles. Most of the stuff the glaciers removed was, I imagine, shoved south to become Cape Cod (or possibly even Australia?)

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What an educational adventure that was!

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Speaking of great depths, the weekend’s trip also revealed to me at least one other place where coffee from Rockland can be obtained in infinite quantities.

A restaurant called Sips, in busy downtown Southwest Harbor, was advertising “bottomless” cups of Rock City coffee for a mere two bucks. What a bargain.

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So, Lobsterfest officials deny my brave assertion (see last week’s paper, if you insist) that they are banning politicians from the annual parade in order to rid themselves of the Pests of PETA, the odd people who say they don’t want us to eat lobsters out of compassion for the creatures’ complex social life.

No. It turns out they were just fed up with other people in the parade complaining about having to march near pesky politicians. Apparently this has been happening for a few years, or so I am told.

So they have done what our schoolteachers used to do when they could not figure out exactly who the guilty party was: they have punished everyone. I always thought this demonstrated a great lack of imagination on the part of our teachers, and possibly it hints at a similar lack on the part of the Lobfest people.

Sigh, etc.

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Another educational experience last weekend involved overhearing an Australian cook trying repeatedly to teach a Serbian waiter how to pronounce the name of our breakfast eggs in Spanish: Huevos Rancheros.

Shades of “Fawlty Towers”?

The poor cook failed utterly in his efforts, but he need not have worried. His lessons were delivered at increasing volume by the Australian, so that in the end even a deaf person could have understood what was on the menu that morning: Eggs, black beans and salsa.

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Speaking of education, I am beside myself with joy to report that at about 11 a.m. last Thursday, May 3, I saw a woman on the top floor of a building in downtown Rockland use a semicolon correctly in a written sentence.

Truly a lovely sight.

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Last Wednesday, of course, was the first day of genuine heat and sunshine in the Lime City this year. The temperature that afternoon reached 70 degrees in the cardboard box at the top of the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

The Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse were quite overcome with emotion by this weather, and went completely sun-silly.

I watched in amazement as, one by one, they tried to land and perch in a maple tree in the South End. I watched in equal amounts of amazement as, one by one, they sort of slipped, swiveled around until they were upside down on the branch, and fell off.

Stupid birds.

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Speaking of airborne creatures, I saw my first flying insect of the year April 11. Thought you’d both like to know.

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Speaking of downtown, Friday was the occasion of the first of the season’s monthly Art Walks, but it wasn’t that much of an event so far as I could tell. Wednesday’s fine weather did not prevail, and by 5 p.m. the city’s streets were quiet, damp, cold and windy.

No doubt there were isolated pockets of bright lights and cheer here and there, not to forget cheese cubes and plastic cups of free plonk, as people gathered in various galleries. But the usually convivial atmosphere on the streets seemed lacking.

I did go into Mr. Frost’s place to look at the pictures there, but even so, the outer gloom seemed to follow me inside, in the form of a gentleman who shared with me the philosophy that “every silver lining seems to have a dark cloud attached.”

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Dear Lord Prez Trumpleton seems to have been at it again, doesn’t he? That new lawyer of his (Randolph Gugliarini?) already appears to be speaking backwards after only a few days on the job, a bit like the White Knight that Alice met through the looking glass, at least according to Jefferson Airplane.

I met a gentleman the other day who expressed the opinion that all these poor people the Lord Prez hires to speak for him in public are simply decoys, mere dupes sent naked into the world to distract media attention from himself. He said Trumpleton does huge amounts of expert misdirection, rather like a really good stage magician.

“You mean like Penn and Teller?” I asked.

“Exactly,” he said.

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