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  • Published
    March 2, 2012

    Fish on Friday

    Once a year for the past 36 years, in case you missed it, the Samoset Resort in Rockport has hosted the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, a three-day event complete with panels on every imaginable marine topic and a trade show represented by every diesel engine manufacturer on the continent. Back in its earlier days, the Maine Fishermen’s Forum was a modest affair. A couple of hundred fishermen showed up and spent most of …

  • Published
    February 23, 2012

    The view from down under

    If one of the best means of gaining perspective on American life is from an island offshore, then one of the best views of the Maine coast is from the shores of other islands and coastlines. Recently, we visited Tangier Island in the Chesapeake and the islands of the Outer Banks; last week we headed south to visit the bayou and barrier islands of Louisiana. The purpose of these travels is to survey issues facing …

  • Published
    February 16, 2012

    How many islands are too many?

    Andy Warhol famously predicted that in the future everyone would be famous for15 minutes, but now that the future has arrived, it is more like 15 seconds. I was startled to find out that I recently reached my 15 seconds when I was unexpectedly mentioned in the British Manchester Guardian film blog. The film critic was discussing the new release of the Jules Verne classic, “Mysterious Island.” In reviewing the …

  • Published
    February 2, 2012

    The island wilderness myth

    The first Maine island I ever visited was a dream come true. A lobsterman dropped me on a beautiful rugged island off the Washington County coastline midway between the treacherous waters of Petit Manan Point and the sheltering harbor of Cape Split to collect ecological data for the Nature Conservancy. Flint Island had everything an eager young naturalist could hope for: A pair of mated eagles patrolling its …

  • Published
    January 26, 2012

    Never say no to an island

    Islanders, no matter how competitive they may be in their fishing territories on the water, love hearing stories from other islanders. No one but another islander can fully appreciate the ways unforgiving edges of an island’s shore carve an offshore identity. Which is how we got an invitation to visit the islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week. We flew into Norfolk, Va., at the south end of …

  • Published
    January 12, 2012

    Energy: Timber, coal, oil and wind

    Governor Paul LePage has pointed out, quite correctly, that Maine is the most oil-dependent state in the country for winter heat. Hawaii is actually more fossil fuel dependent than Maine, as it imports virtually all of its energy, but Hawaiians have situated themselves more providentially in a warmer latitude than ours and consequently need less heat in the winter. The governor has also said he believes Maine’s …

  • Published
    January 5, 2012

    The meaning of life

    As many of you may have heard or read – or even experienced – it is now possible to ask your iPhone, which has voice recognition software called Siri, metaphysical questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” Which got me to thinking, as the family sat around the Christmas tree opening presents, how much technology infuses our lives. My oldest son, now approaching 30, commandeered the first computer we bought …

  • Published
    December 8, 2011

    What is island culture?

    Massachusetts can and does boast of the “Cape and Islands” region with its three year-round island communities of Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Cuttyhunk; Rhode Island has its year-round community of Block Island; Connecticut has its Fisher’s Island; Maryland has Smith; Virginia, Tangiers; and so on, around the coasts of America to Puget Sound, in Washington, which can boast of six year-round communities on …

  • Published
    December 2, 2011

    Island gossip

    Those pundits who think inside-the-beltway politics are intense clearly have not spent a great deal of time discussing issues in New England’s small towns, where all politics are still local; nor are they likely to have visited many island communities where all politics are personal. An island community’s real leaders are often not the apparent leaders who hold official town offices. The most significant …

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