Thursday, December 07, 2006

Time to Vote!

Let your thoughts be heard! (:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Quiet November

Well, the craziness of the holidays must already be taking over as it has been pretty quiet as of late. So, here is another blog to tide you over until I post again in December:

Strange Maine

I will probably do an update on the website at that time as well.

Happy Turkey Day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

It all leads to coffee brandy…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Police: McDonald's robbery report false

WATERVILLE -- A pregnant 20-year-old was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony theft and filing a false report of a robbery Oct. 3 at the McDonald's Restaurant where she worked on Kennedy Memorial Drive.

Lisa Didas of 296 Main St., Waterville, reported being robbed at gunpoint at the drive-up window of the fast-food eatery.

Didas went as far as sitting down with police the next day to compose a sketch of the bearded man she said drove off in a dark colored car and disappeared.

She told police she was desperate for cash and needed help.

There was no robbery, no gunman and no getaway car, Waterville police Detective William Bonney and Police Chief John Morris said Wednesday.

Didas allegedly stashed more than $1,000 in McDonald's cash receipts on her body in a place she felt sure police would not search, they said.

"She was an employee of the McDonald's," Bonney said. "She's pregnant, she's got a 6-month-old child and she told me she can't do it alone; she needs some help and this was kind of a last resort for her."

Bonney said Didas has a boyfriend, but no husband and no child support.

The first report came into the command center at the Waterville Police Department at 2:40 p.m. that Tuesday.

Police officers fanned out across the city, some monitoring Interstate 95 for a possible getaway car.

The driver was said to be a man with dark or black hair with a lot of facial hair.

A young female employee of McDonald's, who turned out to be Didas, was interviewed by police in the parking lot, then extensively inside the restaurant.

She declined to comment on the robbery to a reporter as she left the restaurant.

"We're not supposed to talk about what we saw," she said.

Bonney said Didas probably had the money on her person during the interviews.

"She took the money, concealed it and then called 9-11," Bonney said. "She made the story up -- she told me that she was desperate, she needed the money."

"There was no robbery and there was no accomplice," Morris added.

Bonney and Morris said Didas was "checked" that day and not searched.

"She wanted it to be over," Bonney said. "She was scheduled for a polygraph on Monday.

"I knew that this was wearing on her and I went to talk with her and she was ready for it to be over."

Bonney said he tried to investigate the robbery as if it had happened the way Didas had reported it, but he kept his options open and continued looking at her as a suspect as well.

"I was never able to eliminate her as a suspect," he said. "There were things right from the start that didn't make sense."

The theft charge is a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The false report charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 364 days in the county jail.

"We spent a lot of time chasing our tails because of the false information she provided to us, including the composite she made for us," Morris said.

Morris added that Didas also was arrested a few days after the robbery and charged with theft at Hannaford's supermarket. He said she was not stealing food for her family; she was caught stealing alcohol.

She was charged with stealing a half-gallon of Allen's coffee brandy and a liter of Southern Comfort.

Didas was released without having to post bail Wednesday on the theft and false report charges and will appear in court to face the charges in the coming weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A poem of Mainah words...

Found this today during a Google search. It was posted in March 2005 but I had missed it before:

'While Lookin' Out Thuh Winduh'

Check it out!

New word

Bookin' it - to go wicked fast
ex.: "Man, I tell yah, he was bookin' it tryin' ta make tha last boat out ta tha island!"

- from LB (Bangor, ME)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who's reading?

Occasionally I will do a Google search to see who has been reading/citing the Mainah Glossary. Here are a couple recent/new examples:

- Nettie's First - best if read out loud

- Kalloch Family Maine Links

- All Things Maine

And, if I wasn't anti-Wikipedia, I would update this site.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A couple new words...

n., (pronounced with soft “g”) Wicked small porchun. “Want ‘smoah lobstah?” “Jista smiggin!”
- Submitted by BEM (as told by his fahtha, one Mainah to anutha)

n., Grasp or grip. “Heft up that theyah crow bah ‘an git 'smoah purchase.”
- Submitted by BEM (as told by his fahtha, one Mainah to anutha)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mainah word?

I was wondering if anyone heard this word before in Maine. It was new to me but Longfellow did have connections to Maine...

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 17th:

thank-you-ma'am \THANK-yoo-mam\ noun

: a bump or depression in a road; especially : a ridge or hollow made across a road on a hillside to cause water to run off

Example sentence: "That night on the way home, thinking of his pleasant visit, he was suddenly shaken out of his tranquility ... when his touring car hit a 'thank-you-ma'am' in the unpaved road." (Hugh Manchester, Centre Daily Times [State College, PA], August 22, 2000)

Did you know? "Thank-you-ma'am" might seem like an odd name for a bump in the road, but the _expression makes a little more sense if you imagine the motion your head would make as you drove over such an obstacle. Most likely, the jarring would make you nod involuntarily. Now think of the nodding gesture you make when you're thanking someone or acknowledging a favor. The "thank-you-ma'am" road bump is believed to have received its name when someone noted the similarity of those two head bobbing motions. It's a colloquialism particular to American English, and its earliest printed use is found in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1849 prose piece, Kavanagh: "We went like the wind over the hollows in the snow; — the driver called them 'thank-you-ma'ams,' because they make every body bow."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Make sure it is a Mainah lobstah!

Still having problems uploading images - see the new tags at the original article:

Sure it's a Maine lobster? Check for an ID

By Bella English, Globe Staff July 31, 2006

At restaurants throughout the world, menus feature "Maine lobster," that sweet, succulent stuff that makes grown people don bibs and make a delicious mess. Like Idaho potatoes, Vermont maple syrup, and Florida oranges, Maine lobster has become a name brand. The state produces 75 percent of the lobster catch in the United States, and it brings a premium price, both at the docks and on the table.

But are you really getting Maine lobster, or is it what some Mainers call an "impostor lobster," from Canada or elsewhere? Under a new program that kicks off today in Portland, lobster dealers will be encouraged to tag the catch, identifying it as being caught in Maine waters. The plastic tags will hang from the claw knuckles and state simply: "Certified Maine Lobster." On the front will be a picture of a lobster and a lighthouse; on the back, "" At a press conference, Governor John Baldacci will tag the first "official" lobster, caught in Casco Bay.

Because of increasing competition from Canada, the Maine Lobster Promotion Council is having to market a product that's been a mainstay of the state for centuries, and whose iconic crustacean image graces the state's license plates. "We hope every lobster caught in Maine waters will soon be wearing these new ID bracelets," said Kristen Millar, the council's executive director. "It's truth in advertising. All lobsters are called 'Maine lobsters' and yet they're not all from Maine. It has become this generic term, like Kleenex."

"Don't buy impostor lobster" is the campaign slogan, which will be printed on all sorts of items, from lobster bags to placemats.

The program will be voluntary, dependent upon everyone from the dealers who buy lobster off the docks for resale to retailers or processing plants. John Hathaway, a lobster dealer and processor who owns Shucks Maine Lobster in Richmond, loves the idea. "We have the best lobster in the world, and we need to let people know what they're getting."

What they're getting, he said, are environmentally sustainable creatures carefully harvested by experts. "It's not some big trawler out there dragging the bottom. These are guys who go out and they take them by hand, only take the right size, and they place them down carefully. There's a lot of TLC involved."

But Maine sells 60 to 70 percent of its catch to Canada, where much of it is processed and packaged as lobster meat, then sold back to US fish shops and restaurants as a "product of Canada." (Canada has several lobster processing plants, which are subsidized by the government, while Maine has three privately owned plants.)

According to US law, retailers are required to disclose the country of origin for seafood, says Millar. But federal law also states that if a US product is radically transformed in another country, it becomes a product of that country. Hence, a Maine lobster sold to Canada where it is taken out of the shell, cooked or left raw, and then packaged is a product of Canada.

Maine's new tagging program won't change Canadians' habits, but officials are hoping to raise awareness among US consumers. If the program works, customers will be able to determine whether the lobster they're buying is really from Maine. Ultimately, the state's fishermen say more local processing plants need to be built to support an industry that last year harvested 65 million pounds of lobster, for sales of $300 million.

Naturally, if you ask anyone in Maine, its lobster is vastly superior to Canada's. Michael Gagne is chef/owner of the Robinhood Free Meeting House, a five-star restaurant on Georgetown Island. He'll use only local lobster, which he said is incomparable. "Most of Maine lobster tends to be softshell so it's easier to eat, not so fibrous, and is sweeter," he said.

But chef Jasper White, who owns four Summer Shack restaurants in the Boston area, said he uses lobsters from Canada and Maine, as well as other New England states. For him, it's not a matter of which is better, but which is available. "If people come in here in February and ask for Maine lobster, I'll tell them to go wake up the lobstermen and the lobsters, because the lobsters go dormant in winter," said White, who wrote the cookbook "Lobster at Home."
Canada has the majority of the North American market, said White. He added that he's glad Maine is starting to market its product. "For rolling up your sleeves and enjoying steamed lobster, you can't beat Maine lobster in the summer."

Maine lobstermen and dealers tend to be an independent lot, and supporters of the tagging program hope they'll cooperate. "The quintessential symbol of independence in this area of the country is the Maine lobsterman," said Gagne. "And that is both the boon and the bane. They need to work together because this is a global marketplace."

Millar recently sent a letter to Maine lobster dealers, explaining the program and asking them to sign an agreement that they will participate. Once they do, they'll receive the tags and other promotional materials.

But once the lobster leaves the dealer's hands for a fish store or a restaurant, it's the honor system: What's to stop a retailer from advertising his Canadian lobster as Maine lobster? "We will hear through the grapevine, through the marketplace . . . . We are going to be very aware of those folks who say they're serving it, but they're not, and we'll make a big deal out of it," stressed Millar.

Friday, July 28, 2006

New word

This ones comes from Sheila in Kennebunkport:

lozenger: n., a small medicated tablet intended to soothe the throat. (Brand of choice in Maine? Obviously Fisherman's Friends.)

She also mentioned that she didn't learn that it was called a lozenge until she attended college out of state.

This happened to me recently too. I was commenting on a cool parker that I had seen and was corrected that it is actually called a parka. Now I have lived "away" for 12 years and I just learned this!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Half-baked Lobster?

Okay it really wouldn't be half-baked but half-boiled, right?

Hmm...I'm having a hard time uploading the picture. Go here to see it:

Very rare crustacean caught by Down East lobsterman
Friday, July 14, 2006 - Bangor Daily News

BAR HARBOR - The newest addition to the Mount Desert Oceanarium's lobster colony looks half-baked.

But it's nothing personal.

The rare 1-pound crustacean, caught earlier this week in Steuben, is a genetic mutation with a two-toned shell.

One side is the usual mottled dark green. The other side is the orange-red shade of a lobster that's already spent some time in the hot pot.

The odds of this kind of mutation occurring are very rare - something like one in 50 million to 100 million, according to oceanarium staff. The chance of finding a blue lobster is far more common, at one in a million.

"Isn't he pretty?" Bette Spurling of Southwest Harbor cooed Thursday as she stroked the lobster's shell to calm him down. "It's quite a drawing card for people because they're quite unusual."

Spurling is the wife of a lobsterman and works part time at the oceanarium. She explained that lobster shells are usually a blend of the three primary colors - red, yellow and blue. Those colors mix to form the greenish-brown of most lobsters. This lobster, though, has no blue in half of its shell.

That was a shock to longtime lobsterman Alan Robinson, who hauled him out of Dyer's Bay in Steuben.

"I didn't know what to think," Robinson said. "I thought somebody was playing a joke on me. Once I saw what it was ... it was worth seeing. I've caught a blue one before. But they claim this is rarer than the blue ones."

In his 20-plus years of fishing, he has never seen a lobster like this one.

"It was something with the line drawn so straight like that," Robinson said.

Bernard Arseneau, the former manager at the oceanarium's affiliated lobster hatchery, drove to Lubec on Wednesday to pick up the two-toned creature. He explained that lobsters have a growth pattern in which the two sides develop independently of each other.

"Even regular colored ones have a left-right sort of growth," Arseneau said.

Children visiting the oceanarium were struck right away by the unusual coloration.

"Dude, it's half orange and half, like, regular color for a lobster," exclaimed Alyssa Bonin, 12, of Webster, Mass.

Robinson donated the colorful crustacean to the oceanarium, which often is the beneficiary of strange things that fishermen pull up from the sea. It has received only three two-toned lobsters in its 35 years of existence, officials said.

"Fishermen have been super to us over the years, bringing things in to us," said David Mills, the co-director and owner of the oceanarium. "Our charge is to teach people about the marine life and commercial fishing in Maine."

Mills intends to keep the two-toned lobster over the winter and have him on display for educational purposes, though he has no plans to name him. "

Lobsters are interesting but not personable," he said.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 4th + 1

In honor of July 4th, here is Merriam-Webster's word of the day:

Yankee \YANG-kee\ noun

1 a : a native or inhabitant of New England b : a native or inhabitant of the northern U.S. *2 : a native or inhabitant of the U.S.

Example sentence: "They mistake who assert that the Yankee has few amusements...and men and boys do not play so many games as they do in England." (Henry David Thoreau, Walden)

Did you know? Many etymologies have been proposed for "Yankee," but its origin is still uncertain. What we do know is that in its earliest recorded use "Yankee" was a pejorative term for American colonials used by the British military. The first evidence we have is in a letter written in 1758 by British General James Wolfe, who had a very low opinion of the American troops assigned to him. We also have a report of British troops using the term to abuse citizens of Boston. In 1775, however, after the battles of Lexington and Concord had shown the colonials that they could stand up to British regulars, "Yankee" became suddenly respectable and the colonials adopted the British pejorative in defiance. Ever since then, a derisive and a respectable use of "Yankee" have existed side by side.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Also, the above picture is thanks to my sister who was lucky enough to spend July 4th on the USS Constitution.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's news now that Mainahs did it.

When I first heard this story I wasn't really interested. But, now that I know that they are Mainahs - it is time to post it here!


Home chemistry gag cooks up Internet fame
June 29, 2006

PORTLAND, Maine --A pair of Mainers who became Internet celebrities by plopping Mentos into Diet Coke to create geysers are about to become hits on mainstream media.

Fritz Grobe, 37, and Stephen Voltz, 48, were scheduled to appear on David Letterman's show Thursday night and on the Today show Friday morning to demonstrate their explosive and entertaining chemistry experiments featuring candy and soda.

The Buckfield residents have had more than 3.5 million hits on their Web site since they posted a 3-minute video of their homemade experiment involving more than 500 Mentos and more than 100 two-liter plastic bottles of Diet Coke in early June.

"This has turned into a global phenomenon in a way that was totally unexpected. We expected to tell our friends, who would tell their friends, and then maybe a few weeks later we would start seeing some larger interest. But we never anticipated this," Grobe said Wednesday.

Grobe and Voltz are known around Maine for their regular appearances as part of "The Early Evening Show" at the Oddfellow Theater, a 156-seat theater in Buckfield.

Their Mentos-Diet Coke experiment began on a whim eight months ago. "Stephen heard from a friend that if you drop Mentos in soda it makes a fountain. We tried it like so many others have, and said, 'This is really cool,'" Grobe said.

They started with 10 bottles and saw the potential for more. "We knew there were so many more possibilities. We were just scratching the surface," he said.

The geysers created on their video look like choreographed fireworks or the dancing fountain at Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

On Letterman's show, they hoped to utilize 120 bottles of soda, if time permits.

Grobe said it isn't essential to use a Coke product, although diet soda seems to work better than regular soda, he said. "And don't forget Moxie," he said of the soft drink that originated in Maine. "Moxie works very well, as well."
On the Net:
Information from: Portland Press Herald,

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Good news for the sweet tooth

My favorite Maple syrup product are those sickly sweet Maple leaves. But, I haven't had one in years...Mmmm...So yummy.

Maine syrup production up 13 percent
June 15, 2006
SKOWHEGAN, Maine --Maple syrup production rose 13 percent in Maine this year, while production nationwide increased 17 percent, according to Department of Agriculture statistics.

Syrup production in Maine during the spring totaled 300,000 gallons, up from 265,000 gallons in 2005, the department said in a report released this week. Nationwide, syrup production rose 17 percent to 1.45 million gallons.

The rise in production is credited to an increase in yield as well as an increase in the number of syrup taps. In Maine alone, syrup producers this year had more than 1.3 million taps, which was 15,000 more taps than in 2005.

Production in Maine varied in different parts of the state, said Jeremy Steeves, secretary of the Maine Maple Producers Association.

"If you tapped in the southern part of the state, you had an average of below average year," he said. "In the northern areas, it was above average. It was purely weather-related."

As usual, Vermont was the No. 1 syrup state with 460,000 gallons produced, according to Department of Agriculture numbers. Maine was the No. 2 state, followed by New York, with 253,000 gallons.

Elsewhere in New England, New Hampshire produced 64,000 gallons of syrup, Massachusetts had 40,000 gallons and Connecticut came in at 10,000 gallons.

Production values have not yet been calculated for 2006.

For 2005, production nationally was valued at $37.1 million. Maine's production was valued at $5.7 million, while Vermont came in at $11.4 million.

The Department of Agriculture report said temperatures in maple-producing states varied widely across the country.

While producers in Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Vermont and Wisconsin reported favorable conditions, producers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan and Pennsylvania said it was either too warm or too cold for a favorable sap flow.
Information from: Bangor Daily News,

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Website updated today!

Another rainy day in the Northeast = a Mainah Glossary update.

Keep those words coming!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

New words

It's about time for me to do another update of the glossary - maybe over the long weekend (but only if it rains again!).

These were sent in by CB from Dexter, Maine:
  • huck - To throw: "Quit huckin' rocks at youah sistah!"
  • skidder - (skiddah) A heavy, four-wheel tractor used to haul logs, especially over rugged terrain. A specialized type with claws for picking up bundles of logs is known as a "grapple-skiddah". Skiddahs make and use "Skiddah-trails" and are owned and operated by members of the "skiddah-crowd" and often do double-duty as the ultimate form of tow truck for when a Mainah goes muddin' and gets in a real gaum: "We buried her so deep that we had to get a skiddah to yahd her out."
  • Voc Boy - A vocational school student. The term "Voc Boy" is used to identify a class of student at a high school, much like the terms "Jock", "Prep", "Nerd", and "Druggy" are used to identify their respective classes of students; with the main criteria being that they are male and they attend vocational school learning things like carpentry, truck drivin' or automotive mechanics, as opposed to more conventional academic studies such as readin', writin' an' 'rithmetic.
  • flatlander - (flatlandah) A general term to describe someone not from Maine; someone from away; an outta-state-ah.
  • Maine State Bird - mosquito.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Everyone seems to love lighthouses. Although I grew up inland and only made occasional visits to the ocean growing up, I also am drawn to lighthouses. For me, it is the unique architectural design and the thought that not too long ago these were the main safety system for brave mariners. I recently was in DC (one of my favorite cities) and during a search through the Smithsonian website, I came upon this little corner:

The neat part about the site is the old postcards and up-to-date facts on each lighthouse.

Here is one example - Pemaquid Point which is now on the Maine state quarter. If any of you are interested in a very nice print of Pemaquid Point with a Maine state quarter in the matte around it, post here. I have connections... (:


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Take this Test!

I was 32% Dixie but still definitely a Yankee!


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Something to tide ya over...

It's been quiet here again but I found a little story to pass the time...


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Couldn't resist this title...

Love-struck males are increasingly smitten by cars

By JEN FISH, Portland Press Herald Writer
Friday, March 31, 2006

It's tough out there for a turkey.

Male wild turkeys, which must perform elaborate courtship rituals to attract females, are facing an even more difficult hurdle to finding love this spring mating season: the Maine Turnpike.

At least six male turkeys presumably on the prowl have met an untimely end on the turnpike this month, prompting state police to warn motorists to add another wild animal to their potential driving hazards.

Most of the accidents have occurred in the stretch of road between Gray and Lewiston, said Stephen McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman.

"There have been about a half-dozen collisions in the last month," he said. The most recent accident occurred Wednesday.

"The turkey didn't make it," McCausland said. "The turkeys, fortunately, have not caused any injury but are probably the last thing you would expect when driving on the turnpike."

Trooper Robert Andreasen, who patrols the highway south of Lewiston, has responded to three turkey collisions in the past two weeks. He said he has seen more of the birds during his patrols over the past few years.

Andreasen said motorists should be aware of the increase and that "they might fly up on you."

Drivers such as Terina Dobson of Portland are already on the lookout.

Dobson said she visits friends in Sabattus several times a week and always sees the birds resting on the side of the road on the southbound side between Auburn and the New Gloucester tollbooth.

"Knock on wood, they've been staying on the side of the road," she said.

Wild turkeys have made a big comeback in Maine. They were all but extinct here in the early 1800s, said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Mark Latti. The birds were reintroduced by the state in the early 20th century, but were not successfully re-established until the late 1970s.

Since then, the population of wild turkeys has steadily increased to the point that the turkey hunting season, once determined by a lottery, was opened to all who purchased a license last year.

Latti said the state estimates there are between 17,000 and 20,000 turkeys. Although that number may seem high, he said, the birds remain outnumbered by moose, deer and bears.

But as the numbers have increased, the state has allowed more and more people to hunt them. Last year, 23,951 permits were issued, compared to 15,600 in 2004.

Male turkeys are generally 3 to 4 feet long, with a 5-foot wing span and weigh between 16 and 25 pounds. The females are much smaller, weighing between 9 and 11 pounds.

Most turkeys searching for mates should be off the roads by the end of May, Latti said.

Staff Writer Jen Fish can be contacted at 282-8229 or at:
Go here to read or post comments:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Geographic Center of Maine...

Really is in the middle of nowhere! (:

Found this great site today - a way to pass the time and learn something new:


Friday, March 10, 2006

"I'm all set..."

It became apparent to my sister and I on a recent trip to Mississippi that "All set" should be added to the Mainah Glossary. When asked if we need any more ice tea, we would respond: "I'm all set..." I remembered after a few blank faces that "All set" is not used widely outside of New England. Usually, people would respond: "No, thank you" to that sort of question.

"All set" means "I'm good," "I'm finished," "No, thank you" all wrapped into one.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Quiet Month

Only one post this month.

Actually more of an addition to a current word:

Fun site. How about "Mahdens" (mardens) in "We-uhs goin' down ta Mahdens and get some wicked good bahgins."

Thanks, Chuck W.
Topsham, Maine (That's pronounced Top-sum...Home of the Topsum Fayuh)

Hopefully we will have more suggestions next month!


Monday, January 09, 2006

'Champagne of Maine'?

Sent to me by a Mainah friend today...I've never had it...

A Bittersweet 'Champagne of Maine'
Potent Coffee Brandy Is Top-Selling Liquor but Is Linked to Alcohol Abuse

By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 9, 2006; A03

PORTLAND, Maine -- The dark-brown liquid that some people call "the champagne of Maine" tastes, to the uninitiated, like equal parts alcohol, sugar and coffee-pot slag. It puckers the cheeks, coats the tongue with syrupy sweetness and leaves a mouthwash feeling on the lips.

This is coffee-flavored brandy. It is one of the odder stories of American imbibing, the number-one-for-20-years-running liquor obsession of Maine.

The caffeine-infused spirit, largely unknown outside New England, is a staple at house parties, mill town bars and urban street corners here -- popular enough that a Bangor newspaperman once suggested putting it on the back of Maine's state quarter.

On the other hand: "I've thought, in more than one case, that you can put it on someone's headstone," said Erik Steele, an emergency-room physician who works at four hospitals in rural Maine.

In this state, it turns out, everything that is both fun and tragic about alcohol is embodied in the same intensely bittersweet drink.

"People are addicted to coffee brandy here," said Barbara Dacri, executive director of a Portland-based treatment center called Crossroads for Women.

Compared with those of other states, Maine's totals of chronic and binge drinkers are not terrifically high. But officials say alcohol remains this state's most readily available and widely destructive drug, cited by 59 percent of those seeking substance-abuse treatment here.

And in Maine, officials say you can't talk about alcohol for long without talking about one particular brand: At last tally, the best-selling bottle of hard liquor in the state was the roughly half-gallon container of Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy. The No. 2 seller was . . . the liter-size bottle of Allen's.

According to the state, Allen's sells 98,000 cases of its 60-proof spirit a year -- more than double the second-best-selling spirit. It has been Maine's favorite for two decades.

"We're very grateful to the consumers of Maine," said Gary Shaw, a vice president at M.S. Walker Inc., which makes Allen's by combining coffee extracts with "neutral brandy" at its plant in a Boston suburb.

At Raena's Pub in the northern city of Bangor, bartender Carrie Smith said she can easily spot the brandy drinkers.

"Bleached-blonde, teased hair. . . . They always play the 'Redneck Woman' song" on the jukebox, she said, describing the typical drinker who orders a "sombrero," or Allen's mixed with milk. Smith said she once saw a woman dump her cocktail on the head of a beer-drinking man who referred to the drink by its nickname, "fat ass in a glass."

Mainers say Allen's is sometimes favored by vagrants, who like its low price, or by teenagers, who mainly like beer but sometimes choose Allen's because it lacks the burn of other hard stuff.

But, in the world of coffee brandy drinkers, women seem to be the core customers.

One recent afternoon at a halfway house run by Crossroads for Women outside downtown Portland, all but one of nine women had a story about coffee brandy, and she wasn't from Maine.

The others in the living room talked about how they would pour it in morning coffee, hide it in a Dunkin' Donuts cup, or take it to school in a water bottle. How, in Portland's housing projects, its nickname was "gorilla milk" because it turned people into animals. How the milkshake taste of a sombrero drew them in and the coffee buzz kept them going.

"I can drink coffee brandy for 24 hours," said Amy, 38, who like the others asked that her last name not be used. "And the caffeine and the booze even each other out."

"You can down 'em," agreed Catrina, 26.

Lori, 28, said she remembered her mother drinking Allen's when she was growing up, and smiled at her own memories of the syrupy drink with a kick. "That initial warm from drinking," she said, relishing the thought. "It's like, 'Whew!' "

But soon after, another idea stopped her: "My kids, that's what they'll remember me drinking."

The story of brandy's influence is also written in the state's police logs, where the drink and in particular the Allen's brand have shown up in connection with crimes both odd and heartbreaking.

In 2003, a woman from Penobscot dug up the ashes of her boyfriend, then later explained, "I never would have done that if I hadn't been drinking Allen's," according to a report from the time. A year before, a man from Bangor had been discovered asleep in a stranger's bed wearing stolen pink underwear; he explained later that he had consumed a half-gallon of brandy.

One of the most notorious incidents involving coffee brandy occurred in 1997, when a drunken driver with a half-empty bottle in his car plowed into a car at a Maine Turnpike tollbooth. A woman and her daughter in the other car were killed.

Police say they notice the drink showing up in less newsworthy incidents all the time -- on the kitchen counter during a domestic-violence call, in the car of youths caught shoplifting liquor. Officer Ryan Reardon of Waterville, Maine, said he has encountered coffee brandy so many times that he can find it with his nose.

"Just by smell, you can tell someone's been drinking it," he said, asserting that the sickly sweet, alcoholic odor emanates from the skin.

Thomas J. Connolly, a defense lawyer in Portland, said he believes that the combination of caffeine and alcohol in coffee brandy makes it worse than other liquors: "It's like an ideal food for crime."

"It keeps you awake, it keeps you going, it keeps you sexualized," said Connolly, who said he has heard a client explain, "I was drinking Allen's, and then I was in the blackie" -- blacked out.

Many officials in Maine don't agree. To their minds, there is nothing particularly sinister about the makeup of Allen's or any other kind of coffee brandy.

The only thing these drinks are, they say, is popular.

"If it wasn't Allen's, it would be something," said Steele, the emergency-room physician, who is also chief medical officer for a regional hospital chain. "Alcohol itself is the problem."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Glossary updated today!!

Only three months since last update. More words coming soon!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Funny how things happen...

Yesterday I bought the "Forgotten English" 365 day desk calendar. Every other year I have bought Dilbert but I have a Dilbert day planner now so I decided it was time to branch out. I put it in my office today and what was the first word?

scurryfunge - "A hasty tiding of the house between the time you see a neighbor and the time she knocks on the door." - John Gould's Maine Lingo: Boiled Owls, Billdads, and Wazzats, 1975.

Of course, I immediately googled this book - what a find! I just ordered it from Green Apple Books in San Francisco. I can hardly wait to get it.

More information on John Gould and his works can be found at:

Also, during my search I found this website which also talks about John Gould and Maine lingo:

Quite the find of Mainah lingo today!