Mixed Grill, Chemtrails over the Midcoast?, and a great Bloody Mary


Crossworders might call this an “olio” ( hate that word!), which means a potpourri of this and that. A melange. Well, this is a food blog (sort of), so I like to think of it as a mixed grill.

Let’s Get “Reticent” Right.

“Reticent” shows up so many times wrong that maybe it’ll become right simply by being abused to death: “I was reticent to go with him to the party because he was a brainless oaf.” Brainless oaf or not, the guy would much rather you were hesitant or reluctant, but you can only be reticent when you hold your tongue. See, it doesn’t mean hesitant or reluctant, even though it sounds like a cross between the two. It means “not readily revealing one’s thoughts or feelings.” So, if you have the word “to” after “reticent,” you know you’re wandering down the treacherous road of wrongness. One of my peeves, I guess.

Verbally Challenged in North Platte, Nebraska

Speaking of literacy problems, we were cruising through North Platte a few years back, on our way up to Pierre, South Dakota. It was the middle of May, and high school graduation was just around the corner. We drove past this sign (below), then pulled a fast u-ey to come back and photograph it.

NorthPlatte2008The mind reels…

And this little jewel from a county fair near New Castle, Indiana… a bit less obvious, though:

GormetThe mind doesn’t reel, but it itches a bit.

The Taos Easter Egg Massacre

Go figure a kind, gentle, generous caregiving friend of hours (sadly since passed away) in Taos, a midwife no less, whose annual Easter Egg “Hunt” involved setting up an array of dozens of hard-boiled, beautifully dyed eggs on fence posts and having family and guests blow them to smithereens with handguns and 30-30s.

Santa Fe art gallery moment of giggles

One of the few times I visited galleries in Santa Fe (and there are many dozens of them) I happened to arrive at an opening featuring an abstract artist whose work had strong echoes of Jackson Pollock. I chanced upon an extremely large splattery work, maybe 10 feet wide, and a woman volunteered to me, “They say this artist takes Jackson Pollock to new heights.” I replied, “Or new widths,” and for some unfathomable reason she walked away, unamused.

Cheap burger

When I had just gotten my driver’s license, my mother loved to send me on errands, especially to the grocery store, to buy “a pound of the eighty-nine.” The “eighty-nine” back then – in the early 60s – was lean hamburger at 89 cents a pound. Well, imagine going to Hannaford a couple of months ago, finding lean hamburger on sale, then additionally marked down a couple of dollars, and me with an extra coupon for another dollar off. At home, I figured my cost of the burger was about $1.20 per pound, a mere 35% increase over fifty years.

Yikes. I don’t think Hannaford was turning a profit on that particular purchase. Food prices are amazingly low in this country, but I think we’re living on borrowed time.

Maybe the T-shirt tells the truth, but then, this is Olympia

I’ve suggested earlier that people in Olympia, Washington, don’t have fun. Ever. It may be that they don’t know how to, but more likely because it’s more satisfying being grumpy and angst-ridden. Well, my wife and I had lots of fun there, but we had to do it largely on our own.

One day I was in a convenience store and a large, unpleasant-looking young dude came in and stood next to me. I glanced at his T-shirt: “Welcome to Loserville. Population: You.” (You may have seen this shirt before). Well, after reading it, I glanced up at him and smiled, and even leaked a chuckle. He did not smile or chuckle back. He looked like he’d rather see me with a bullet wound somewhere. *Sigh*.

Much of my adult life I’ve tried to adhere to my own private AHAP, pronounced A-hap. The last two letters of AHAP are “Avoidance Program.” The first two letters are yours to guess, but it may help you to know they perfectly described the guy with the shirt.

WTF?? Wild Skies, Friday, April 25, 11 AM.

Owls Head airport is just about 2 miles to the north of us, and we sometimes see and hear small aircraft coming and going, like Cape Air’s flights to Boston. In late afternoons and evenings we’ll see some air traffic going to and from Europe crossing over us on their Great Circle route – but only one or two jets at a time, way up there at 35,000 feet or so. Their contrails are thin and vanish after a couple of miles or so.

On Friday, April 25, around 11AM, we were headed into town to do errands, looked at the sky, rushed back to get my camera, then drove to the Gig and to the airport and snapped a dozen or so shots of what looked like nothing less than an aerial invasion. Contrails everywhere, or what some call chemtrails, cross-hatching, spreading, not evaporating, and dozens of jet aircraft at (I would guess) 25,000 to 30,000 feet up. This sort of thing never happens in the morning here. Actually, it never happens at all – in the two years I’ve been living here. But here they were, dozens of planes spewing long, thick trails of something that didn’t dissipate… and at least two of the planes making sharp turns. Some pix:

DSC_9707 DSC_9704 DSC_9692 DSC_9694Over the Gig store, So. ThomastonFrom Owls Head airport, around the Gig store, and near Rte 73, all in So. Thomaston, but a lot of the “action” was to the north over Rockland, Camden, and more. Friday, April 25, 11Am and for an hour or so after. All the “white stuff” you see here is man made, except for the smudges near the horizon.

Now I’ve never been much for conspiracy theories (excepting the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, and also possibly the unexplainable antics of the otherwise angelic Justin Bieber), but there are those all over the planet who’ve done a lot of work trying to get at the bottom of what all this stuff is. To them, they’re chemtrails, maybe laden with strange psychopharmaceuticals that could zombify us enough to reelect Gov. LePage, or something worse (if possible). Or maybe this is a “secret” campaign of geoengineering trying to mitigate climate change – spraying the sky with sun-dimming trails of white stuff so our tomatoes won’t come up till late September. I don’t have a clue. It could be military exercises of some sort, but where would you read about that? What I do know is that these contrails spread wide, didn’t dissipate, went for miles and miles and miles, and that some of the planes turned sharp angles for no apparent reason. Main question: why so many planes high over midcoast Maine, so many different directions, so much schmutz in the sky?

Just sayin’.


Update 1, Sunday 4/27: I want to thank the writers for their comments and suggestions, and also one who has suggested I reach Dr. James Fleming, Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. He is the author of several books about atmospheric science, climate control engineering, and more – including his book Fixing The SkyI’ve written him and we’ll see where that may lead…

I’d like to follow up on this subject in a way that is as scientifically respectable as possible. Yes, there are conspiracy groups out there, and some of them may in fact have the right idea about what these contrails/chemtrails are all about, but I need to avoid falling down into any rabbit holes.  Other updates to follow.  Thanks again to the writers.

Why in the World Are They Spraying?” is an award-winning documentary, on their own site and on YouTube. Dr. Fleming appears on it.

Update 2: Mea Culpa!! My original post had the date of the incident as March 25, when it was in fact April 25 – two days ago. Sorry! Just because it’s been feeling like March, that’s what came out. Where’s my proofer?


Good Bloody! Salad in a glass!

DSC_9603gd copy 2Mmm… Bloodies… mmm

I do like a Bloody Mary on occasion, preferably at midday on a weekend when I can get away with a brief kip afterwards. This one’s simple and clean and delicious, and much less viscous than the store-bought mixes, which seem to believe if it isn’t as thick as heavy ketchup, what good is it?

No recipe, but here’s what I do to mellow out a summer weekend midday: vodka or gin over ice in a tall glass, add Clamato juice, a teaspoon+ of prepared horseradish, juice of half a lemon (Yep, half a lemon), two pressed garlic cloves, a strong sprinkle of cayenne pepper, dashes of seasoned salt on top of the drink, celery stalk, olive and lime slice on a toothpick for garnish.

Clamato is the key. You can also add a bit of Waldo Stone Farm’s Bloody Lobster Cocktail or Bloody Oyster Cocktail mix to add more body and vitamins – they’re terrific mixes, loaded with veggie juices, and sold in local shops.

The drink has the nutritional value, practically, of a Cobb Salad, so you’re being good to yourself, and feeling good about it at the same time!  There aren’t too many win-wins like that which involve ethanol, but this is as close as I know.

Chase it with a breath mint.

(I mentioned South Dakota in my last post… that’s coming soon, but I need to get it just right, so…)

(all photos by me; when they’re not, I’ll give a proper credit)

There you have it for now.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.